Instructions for the long march

You will not need all that clothing
lying in heaps on the shelves,
hanging like skins gathered in
a different season.

And you will have to do
certain tasks that used to be
fulfilled by others, or that you
only read about in manuals

for long-term care. But
in all things, you must learn
gentleness— which is a little
like but more than just

dimming the lights to soften
the glare, or reaching around
the body to unhook stays
that bind or support.

Give yourself to what will sustain
the most, what will boost the quality
of breath in the most interior room.
When everything without

grows fuller and more crowded with noise,
discard all unnecessary furniture. Watch
the landscape expand with what you
remember of water and light and air.

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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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