Sometimes I am terrible at saying thank you

“What if you could/ say only one thing for the rest of your life…” ~ Adriana Cloud

What else do you need, you texted
from the convenience store. I asked

for one pen but you bought a pack
of 10 + bonus— blue ink carriages

in their filmy cellophane wrapper
with a double heart. And oh, maybe

a few plastic hangers; but you bought
what you said was the minimum

of 16; and as afterthought, an extra
pack of coffee pods even when I’d counted

what I had and knew there should be enough.
Because I was raised to save every leftover

bit of string, taught to eat the bitter
greens and hold something back

for that proverbial rainy day, I always
want to smooth and re-fold every square

of glossy paper loosened from a gift,
parcel out every part of the butchered

animal so that it lasts and lasts and lasts
until the gristly end. I thought

this was the only way to care for:
like taking one step forward and two

steps back will make sure there’s always
enough to go around. Like after all

these years I haven’t learned the difference
between slowness and patience. Like speaking

warnings instead of carefully going over
the sums makes a better armor for the heart.

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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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