War Stories

Uncle still speaks of the little miracles: listening for frog calls at night to find rivulets of water, one dark train track made by ants leading to a bush with overripe fruit.

How they were led away at bayonet point and made to walk for days in the heat, leaving their houses behind: animals cooped in their cages, the goats now free to roam the abandoned villages.

Those that escaped hid from the moon, shining like a giant floodlight in the sky. Night, a leaf under which bodies might shelter.

And the women no one wanted to speak of then: how some of them now choose needlework, stabbing the cloth and embroidering the same dark flower that looks like a hand held over a scream, over and over again.

And I never knew mother’s mother except for the sound of her name: the name that last escaped her mother’s mouth as she lay dying in the dirt.

Watch how the grain is winnowed, how chaff flies into the air: husks of brittle armies indifferent to the small, small sound pearled bodies make when they fall, fall until they’re caught.


In response to Via Negtiva: Harvest.

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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