left shoelace, nail-width space
once tethered by a button; street
washed by too much rain— Come in,
come in, take off your sandals,
cool your fevered throat.
On the road you smell the flowers—
Peonies bursting with the shade
of cream, blushing; their plush,
the texture of suede. Swooning arcs
of wisteria, undividing the fence.
The heart wants to confess how much
smaller it feels today than yesterday,
and the day before; how frightened it is
of what it will surely be asked to bear.
It wants to climb the hill and rest there,
let the wind stream through the rooms, prop
all its windows open. What threads the needle
burning through the canopy? You didn’t know
kindness could still unravel from the inside
of whorled green shells. The heart wants
to trade its tattered rags for a square
of cotton, a piece of hollow bone; one clear note
to fly like a flag, but not yet in surrender.
~ “The poem is for those who’ve lost.” ~ Sean Thomas Dougherty
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.