How do we speak of certain griefs?

Yes I’m mother too—
though I don’t think I could even begin

to process that pain: the illogic
of a child’s passing before the parent,

the violation of a certain idea of the order
of things. I will argue such sorrow

could be but isn’t truly universal
in all those ways we try to find language

for alliance but always come short; for how
could anyone know? More than this—

whatever one might be expected to say
in solidarity, cannot take the place of.

When my friend says At the moment I saw
the cops at the door, even before they rang

the bell I knew. When the dumbstruck
father of the woman they shot as she ate her meal

on a makeshift table in the street cannot form
any words for a statement. In other words

I may know the pain of a child in pain but not
the terror of losing him in such ways, not

the helplessness of seeing the aftermath of violence,
its blunt disfigurements, its contortions and cigarette

burns, its traumas. Banal obscenity
of final objects they touched, next to

their bodies: the meal not yet cooled, the change
on the counter, the candy that spilled from a bag.

 

In response to Via Negativa: A certain slant of light.

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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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