Counting

Ransacking closets, I come up only
with legacies of questionable value.

How are such things to be written into
a will? Dried sprig; five leather buttons

with a lattice pattern, saved from father’s
sweater. A necklace of tiny colored beads;

its pendant of etched carabao horn affixed
with brass bells. I used to know with certainty

where I’d kept the dried stumps of my babies’
cords. Who is watching over my shoulder as I trace

the faces of the long dead in photographs?
Smell of all perishables; a seed rattling

in the heart of green fruit on the tree.
Here are paper flowers with mouths wide enough

to hold votives— They can drift for a time on a blue
surface: forgive me for such little stores of light.

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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