You may be older now, but you still don’t seem to know
how deep the roots of anything are, nor how far back
they really go under loam and rock, under clumps
of grass that sheep nibble on as they leap nimbly
from ledge to ledge— themselves blithely unaware
that underneath the banquet table, the bones of untold
generations lie cocooned in spiderwebs and hurricane
debris. On Easter Island, archeologists have finally
figured out why those Moai monoliths purse their lips
as if to tsk in disappointment, like grandmothers
and aunts on both sides of your family: Look deeper,
there’s more to us than meets the eye. Unearthed torsos,
truncated waists, broad as the oily aprons that once
sheathed them. Laps on which you laid your head to cry
after countless bad breakups, and the way they’d scold:
That’s what you get for using your heart, your itchy
cactus, your hat of rousable quills and not your brain.
You wonder why you’ve never found a four-leaf clover;
if buying a lucky money tree from a plant store would be
like bribing fate, and if so, what is the penalty? From afar,
the beam of a lighthouse lasers intermittently through fog,
so in the butter-yellow light of its returning scan, you might
catch sight of a limp blowfish on the beach among brittle
shells, a rusted oil can long abandoned by its genie.
It’s still too cold to walk on the sand clad in a skimpy bikini.
The only ones about, hermit crabs; gulls with an ear cocked
for the stray tourist, hoping to snag crumbs from a burger
or a donut wrapper. It’s said those giant heads are from
around year 1,500 CE or Common Era: which means a year
in our time, or not so anciently long ago, when the earth
must have gone through some upheaval as the fate soon
predicted for us. Heating or cooling, the plug pulled on
existence as we know it, if we don’t quit littering the world
with the excesses of our consumption. No more backpacking
across the Pyrenees or twirling off to Argentina to learn
the tango. No more jetting to Japan, no more fatty tuna
to melt as sashimi on the tongue. In “Interstellar”
it was all corn, corn, corn. You’d be sick of it,
miss your merlot, your scotch on the rocks;
chamomile tea with honey, the bite of sriracha,
the plain salty curl of a thin pretzel. Then, it was all
dust storms, burning heat; a scourge that for sure
wiped out any trace of unicorns or ants, angel fish
or honeybees. Let me tell you something. You can’t climb
a rock face without kicking stones loose from under
your boot. You can move, but you can’t hide. The only
anchor that’s dropping here goes by the name of time.
Ask the roosters in their cages why they crow.
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.