No one promised there would be signposts.
So I found my way best, closing my eyes
and trying to recall what stood there
the last time— a pair of ancient magnolias
crowding the scrap of yard, machine shop
on the street corner. Rows of apartments
painted ghastly pink next to the yellow
shingled hotel. When I sat down to dinner
in the Japanese restaurant, before tea
was poured I recognized the paneling,
the wide fireplace studded with river stones;
stands of ancient bamboo on the periphery—
how did it come to pass that price lists
for hibachi and all-you-can-eat lunch
were pinned beside the stately double doors?
Someone, something else lived there before,
wanting a quieter life. In the taxi,
the radio was on: a voice speaking of how
fakery abounds— unless you have
an expert eye, it’s hard to tell
if a deep red carpet scrolled with vines
and curling branches was woven in Iran
or China. Bounty of fruit spread out
at every stall in the crowded streets—
muskmelons, sapodillas, masaflora;
and always, in the middle of them all,
one cheek cut open under a plastic film
as though to swear: surface matches surface.
In response to Via Negativa: Cezanne's Doubt.
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.