Ghazal for the Dead: In Tacloban

Processed but not identified: scattered by wind,
splintered, battered where the flood left them in Tacloban.

The dark is a cave is the mouth of God or the unfathomable—
O for sleep without such helpless waking in Tacloban.

How many baubles and stolen billions will bring lives back? Ask
the former First Lady, who attended Holy Infant Academy in Tacloban.

The mayor was lashed to a coconut tree. The mayor was the coconut in the tree.
The tree was in a ballroom. This is not about the oral tradition in Tacloban.

In the midst of calamity, would you have time to worry about your shoes?
Through the waters, a typhoon victim bore a general on his back in Tacloban.

Why were the military first on the scene? Why did it take so long for relief
to arrive? The dead are past blame, the dead are past games in Tacloban.

The actors and actresses turned politicians flash smiles at the camera
while the living vomit with grief, hunger, dysentery, in Tacloban.

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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