12 Prompts

Write of the fire that swept
through your gut and what it asked or took;
of the first thing you thought and the last
that you spoke before what changed you;

write what you were at ten, at seventeen,
at twenty, now; and the sounds of weather
and trees in the towns you passed through.
And tell of the smells in the streets

and the tastes that burnt your lips
and your tongue, of the eyes that locked
onto yours as you walked through a door
before you turned and the world

turned with you. Tell of the first time
death came to touch the linens in the room,
how it stained with blood and fluids
all the maps engraved in the wood

of the floor; write who it was
that scrubbed till the heart ceased
with its stubborn weeping and grew
a shell of echoes. Write

of the omens you read in the field
as the sunlight burned and the frogs
lay in stupor in the ditch; how a seam
split the earth as you buckled to your knees

till the trembling passed. Tell of the stars
that reeled and spooled overhead, how they swung
their censer then as they do in a widening arc:
shadowing your steps, night after endless night.

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.

2 Replies to “12 Prompts”

  1. I love to look at morning porch and occasionally I get a chance to read a poem you’ve done through a prompt from Dave Bonta. I read your poem today and had to tell you how much I admired the writing. The energy of the poem reminded me a lot of the work of Seamus Heaney, one of my favorite poets.

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