To the Patron Saint of the Impossible

(Santa Rita da Cascia,
Ang Banal ng Hindi Mangyayari

A little cloud of white bees
calmly entered and exited
your open mouth as you lay
in your bassinet, moving
your parents and onlookers
to conclude that surely,
your life ahead would be marked
by purpose and industry— Child
bride, at twelve you pushed your first-
born out into the world, itself no small
miracle in an age of sepsis, superstition,
dogma, while your husband must have been
out carousing, fueling those long-running
fires of vendetta streaking toward his murder.
So there you are in the tapestry and
stained glass window, or walking
with a skull cradled in your hand,
your vestments of ornate brocade
shaken out of storage for church
processions down dusty streets—
Oh see how we gawk at your porcelain mask
with its bright stigmata lasered on your brow,
that red third eye proclaiming the gospel
of an otherworld. Oh how the tired shopkeepers
arrange their merchandise of salted fish,
and housewives in their shabby dusters
finger the halo of pink plastic rollers
hidden in their hair: how we startle
then take heart at your approach, feel
kindred, incorruptible, beatified
when impossible hope visits
our wretched lives.


In response to Via Negativa: Carnival.

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 (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, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

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