Half-life

“…to tell someone that you lived,
and this is how it was.” ~ Sean Thomas Dougherty

If I count the time I’ve spent
living in this body minus the years
spent trying to summon the fragments
it left behind, I wind up with string
the color of smoke, a plume dark
as a dream of birds rowing the air,
silvering the night with their cries—
What kind of promise is it to say
everything’s made beautiful and sleek
by effort, though it never arrives?
My desire is also perpetually disheveled
by desire. Yet if I count the morsels
of bread and meat that touched my tongue,
they would only be proof of my shame—
Who can tell what the gods throw
in the water for sport, and how to fashion
a net to bring it back? How could I thrive
in this body while my other body, my heart,
rocked itself to sleep in a silent house?

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.

One Reply to “Half-life”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.