Bearing the angel

~ after Hugo Simberg, “The Wounded Angel” (“Haavoittunut enkeli”); 1903

Until it breaks or something breaks it,
she carries a precious thing inside her.

Until the wind decides to let her fall
instead of float, she flails her arms

and hopes that someone sees her figure
plunging into the field. And so it comes

to be— this sombre procession moving past
the mouth of the bay, bearing the girl

whose unshod feet dangle like pale
headless birds between two poles. The faces

of these not-yet-pallbearers mirror ash-
colored hills and sullen waters; the earth

looks colder than the stones laid on a country
kitchen floor. Will they take her to the Blind

Girls’ School, or to the Home for Cripples?
The ends of her hair are slightly damp; they clump

a little against her shoulders. It isn’t spring yet,
though here and there are hints the season’s turning.

Snowdrops cluster in patches on otherwise
barren ground. Who picked for her the ones

she holds in her hand? Chalky white,
her linen tunic, her blindfold;

her wings, except for two streaks drying
to the color of old blood on one.

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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