Over slow-simmered, vinegary dishes of tripe and pork we listen to tales—
of the watershed plowed through by a local politician’s earth-movers,
and the soil loosened around the base of trees. When they fall
it is not from the axe or the chainsaw but from this thing
they call development.
The dazed houses lean upon each other for support.
The cherubs that flank the cathedral’s main doors sport new
coats of golden paint, but the bowls they hold out are empty.
In the window frame, a spider-thread collects drops
of damp tribute: condensation from days of unending rain,
and inside, from the heat made by our own bodies
though we can hardly remember what the air
smelled like, untinted, before the wilderness ceased singing.
In response to Via Negativa: Peuple inhabite....
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.