At thirty, I wonder
for the first time where

my childhood went; why I didn’t
for the longest time have words
to describe things done

surreptitiously to me: yet I
am good at summaries and speed

reading; also I know how to gut
and butterfly a fish. I look
sometimes in the mirror above

the bathroom sink to run the tip
of my index finger under my lip,

feeling for the ridge on the gum
where the shard from an old tooth
once sat, rootless, gathering

stench. Of this, I am not afraid:
at night before bed, fingers dig

to loosen the sliver from
its sheath, until one day it
gives up and the mouth floods

with a vinegar taste. That seems
so long ago. Now, past fifty, I want

only to walk lightly on all the powdered
snow while yellow lights come on: first
one side of the street, then the other.


In response to Via Negativa: Balancing act.

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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