On Agency

Every story begins
in rupture: ice falling

from the sky, a mountain
that convulses with smoke.

Didn’t they teach that all
earthly plots mirror

what wheels in the skies
overhead? The king lies

unseeing in his cold, hard
bed. No one can rouse him.

And the queen? Deranged
by all her losses, she travels

the countryside, promoting
her new line of black and white

clothing, her gospel of stark
forms. The land can only mourn:

weeping shriveled kernels of grain,
pouring poison into the throats of fish.

I never understood why the antidote
to stasis should be more stasis: standing

motionless while predator birds circle
and sniff, make as if to peck out your eyes,

tear your face to shreds. The Beloved says,
No, they are meant to teach patience. With all

my heart I love the Beloved too, but also
I believe in the potency of weapons. I have

but a few: given the right conditions, some
of them could singe, some of them could burn.


In response to Via Negativa: Mare Frigoris.

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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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