Rainbow Tree

Eucalyptus deglupta

All afternoon in the heat,
in silence, on the day that became
for so many the day of the dead,

we pulled up crabgrass and weeds,
cleared the small plot of soil along one
side of the house to make way for the plants

we’d brought from the garden store
two nights ago. We put the balloon
flowers next to the hosta and lavender,

their deep blue unopened buds swelling
like tiny hot air balloons on the ends
of their stems. Earlier, on the news,

announcers began to list the names
of the dead. I thought of how I’d just
read of a nature book on Strange Trees

bottle trees, sapodillas, ghost trees; red
mangroves whose restless prop roots seem
to walk away from their branches and into

the blue-green waters. And down south
in that faraway country of my birth,
the rainbow tree whose bark

sheds strips of vibrant color, bright green
and salmon changing into purple every year.
So many colors we want to see

take root in the soil or in container
gardens. If only the heart discerned
each human face in this way.

~ in memoriam, victims of the 12 June 2016 Orlando shooting


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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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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