Inscrutable Sonnets


Brat (n.) ~ c. 1500, slang, “beggar’s child,” originally northern, Midlands and western England dialect word for “makeshift or ragged garment;” probably the same … as Old English bratt “cloak,” which is from a Celtic source (compare Old Irish bratt “cloak, cloth”).

The amuse-bouche is a mouth-amuser, a smaller bite
than a regular hors d’œuvre: how did I know this before
first grade and not yet (though in due time) that Ouagadougou
is the capital of Burkina Faso? My parents plied me, sickly child,
with mostly solitary amusements: books to devour hour upon hour;
coloring pencils, paper. When I wasn’t doing poorly, they took me
with them everywhere— which means, in the company of mostly adults,
I got to listen as they drank and smoked, trading news, puns, insults,
blushing jokes, tirades, other confidences of language. My father’s cousin
the congressman had a Korean mistress— She bore him a daughter, apple
of his eye. Once, we had to house them, out of sight, away from his wife’s
ire. The girl was older than me, but prissy: hard to feed, prone to tantrums.
I knew how to sweep floors, wash dishes. I can’t imagine what my parents’
friends mean: they say I remember you, you were such a brat back then.

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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