Tending Fire

This entry is part 18 of 18 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2013


Back then, when this was possible,
the sky might have filled
at dusk with wood-smoke, wispy
evidence of leaf-burning—

Domestic issue, those little fires
fed carefully in the yard
by mothers or grandmothers:
sentinels, furies, not one

of the immortals and yet
they watched to tamp
the headstrong flame,
conscripting fire

to interrupt the process,
consume the rot that creeps,
threatens to take hold
of the green and growing.

But there’s a cost to this
sort of tending, of waging
constant war against decline
which wants to have

its way, always—
Leave it alone a second,
turn aside; believe in its warm
disguises, and quickly rue.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Urgency
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Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What Is Left of Wings, I Ask (forthcoming, 2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

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