What we do with what we’ve killed

In the museum courtyard, arches repeat
the past’s stylistic flourishes. A skylight

opens up to the future, supported with beams.
Everyone who’s here is here because they want

to look at art, or just escape the blistering heat.
Museum personnel walk around with a group of docents

in training. The word docent comes from the Latin docere,
which means to show, teach, or cause to know; to make appear

right, be seemly, fitting. There’s a roomful of glass
in one room: French, all swirls and jewel colors,

the designer’s name ending in -que. You can tell
who among the viewers has knick-knacks like these

locked up in a tall glass case in the foyer:
maybe that woman in a slubbed linen shirt

and loafers. Once I went to read for a book group
at the beach, in the home of one of its members.

The host met us at the door in a woven caftan. She said,
You can walk up to the second floor, or if you want

there’s a lift by the landing. But if you walk up the stairs
you can see the wood-carved statues I asked my housekeeper

to take out of storage— I thought you’d like to see them
as they’re from your home country. Like an obedient fish

I ascended the cool lucite staircase. At the top, I greeted
each likeness in turn: native madonna and child, hunter

with backpack carrying a deer; warrior with axe
in one hand, and the head of his enemy in the other.


In response to Via Negativa: Slum.

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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