Letter in January, with a line from Federico Garcia Lorca

Every day the light stays
a little longer, and night
does not fall so hard, so fast.
By the upstairs window where the blinds
are open, I can read till nearly suppertime:
I sought in my heart to give you

the ivory letters that say “siempre,”
“siempre,” “siempre:” garden of my agony—

But oh Federico, isn’t the exile’s heart
always a ferment of agony, always in search
of the elusive body or the heat of another clime?
Here, how quiet it is on our street: the men

who clip the grass and trim the hedges
will not return until winter is over,
and dogs do not roam the streets but howl
in the muffled recesses of living rooms
behind locked doors. Should I hear chimes
from bell towers, their music is mere

adornment to the day. Pigeons and gulls
inspect the trash bins in the alleyway.
Startled, they’ll flee— swath of their wings
the color of indeterminacy. Pine needles mark
sidewalks with their thin virgules, some strands
in puddles left after the last hard rain.


In response to Via Negativa: Night shift.

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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