The Present

Looking around for gifts at the antique
market, I tell you about the door
that swung those many years ago;

and I, not knowing you
were following behind:
running child, made

momentarily breathless by the smack
of my thoughtless passage— I’m rueful
still, though we know of such things

as accident, as what was never
willful or intended. I touch
gilt-edged books on shelves,

their marbled papers, their worn
cloth cases: in one, a verse sings
of a wilderness made tenable, made

bearable by the beloved’s presence:
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou
and it is possible to endure all

that is or might be difficult.
So we pause at trays of vintage
photographs, gently handling the past—

Red-tinted, fragile, stemmed:
glassware and a box of thin
ceramic thimbles. Faceted

crystal dishes just shallow enough
for finger and thumb to gather
traceries of salt for scattering

on meat at the dinner table—
And I admire the snowy yokes
of infants’ christening dresses,

their thin laundered white
punctuated with asterisks
of threaded silk: who knows

the names of their stitches? But o,
what matter any loss or ruin from which
these finds were after all gleaned?

They live again: clear amber light
globes strung on chains, sleds with red
metal runners, songs whose words

the needle will trace faithfully
around the turn-table— And yes,
the things of this world

might fall away but love,
love is always its own sweet,
persistent palimpsest.

~ for Ina

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Samsara

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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