Dark

”The duende is not in the throat;
the duende climbs up inside you,
from the soles of the feet.” ~ Lorca

What a fever of documentation
our naked glistening inspires
in your ships’ logs, what a frenzy
of pointing fingers when you all
come ashore. Don’t deny
you want to graze the tips
of our women’s breasts
as they husk the grain
and carry our young on their hips.
Slim pretense of idols you set
against the gods, their dark
bodies like ours
standing sentinel in the fields.
When we dance our bodies
enter the fire.
Your falsehoods robed in piety
make us subaltern:
our heels mark time, coppered
by the dust of the earth.
Alloyed in the gleam
of history and its chains,
rows of us mourn in orchards
sowing and reaping for tables
where we won’t be made
welcome, where the lyric blood
in our veins cannot mark
the pure white cotton
of your daughters’ frocks;
where our tired brown bodies
roam at night, looking to escape
the judgments of the merciless.

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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