Kotobuki

The owner of the Japanese restaurant
we’ve gone to for the last two decades asks:
When your father-in-law died, did someone

give birth around the same time? I tell her,
as a matter of fact, my sister-in-law had
her fourth child a few weeks after that.

Machiko claps her hands and exclaims:
You see, that is what happens. That is what
we believe!
Just after her grandmother

died years ago in Okinawa, she
gave birth to her daughter; now
she helps her manage this restaurant,

whose name means “Long life.”
When we leave it is late, and the moon
is a pale winnowing basket in the sky.

In the parking lot I kick over
the brassy shells cast off by cicadas
beneath the trees. I wonder, whose place

did I take when I entered this world?
And where will I go one day when it’s time
to take off my coat and re-enter the chain?

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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