Year of mourning, year of unbearable loss

Crux: heart of the matter,
core that, when struck, turns
and moves the energy to its
inevitable conclusion—

But also just heart:
I cannot get away from the part
that fills and fills, that swings
with the wild anguish

of its reverberations,
careening in the blind
space of cathedrals
which the saints,

in their sorrow, have abandoned—
And in the darkness which has grown
out of proportion, signals
and white noise

crackle from just one
station— It sends out
bulletins of planes shot down
over the ocean, scrolling marquees

asking rhetorical questions
like Do you wonder how
something so enormous
could simply disappear

into thin air? Mostly
we get repeats and variations
of the same morbid script: two
seconds, five, ten; seven

shots, sixteen— The child
weaving then dead on the grass
beside the plastic firearm;
the boy fallen next

to the neighbor’s trash bin,
next to the packet of candy
with its red wrapper and banal
reference to a rainbow.

They’ve bagged and tagged
the workers and clients
who’d gathered to celebrate
in a hall; they’ve listed

the names of children whose bodies
fell in kindergarten classrooms;
have buried the diners, lovers,
friends who sat at tables

one clear Friday night
in the 10th arrondissement…
And still the darkness gathers
and presses on, grim maw

bent on attaching itself
to whatever remains resisting
its crudely lettered orders:
to take us like lowly criminals,

festoon our misery on a frame or a tree.
It’s here in this darkness we feel our way
as the crux of our anger gathers— wound
like a fist, sorrow in the shape of a heart.


In response to Via Negativa: Wings.

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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 (forthcoming, 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, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

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