To sound

In exchange for music, a grammar
lesson: because the piano teacher
did not speak English.

Whole note and half. And how many
violets stoppered in a bottle?
Between things is a rest or a thin

slice of toast on a tray
when words become impossible.
You want to sing? Shape your mouth

as if to tell the river it can be
fire or a nest or the letters of your name
building a bridge in a forgotten language.

You want to speak? Turn the bell upside down
and fill it with rain water. Drink in
the tongue swinging madly in that empty house.

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.

2 Replies to “To sound”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.