Sometimes, I am more broken than brave

At my wrist, constant beat of what the gecko sings in the eaves:
Be brave, be brave. I try to quiet that pulse when it hammers

too loud in my ears, when the merest tender bar of moonlight
threatens to break a dam of pent-up tears. In the mountains,

many years ago, I dreamed I could give myself to a lifetime
of work and words. And this morning I knew when a bird

touched down in the fig by the tremble in the net of leaves.
What it tells me is that the unseen magician has pulled

almost all the knotted silk squares from out of his sleeve—
rippling blue, golden yellow, crimson visible from miles away.

When I move to the couch to lie down in afternoon heat, I feel
the very fingertips of time press down on my lids. These days,

I am either sad and angry, or bitter and sad. I’m begging you,
please don’t let these be the only combinations at the end.

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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