It’s long afterward, but still
you want what doesn’t exist anymore—
and so you light a votive, set it
on a leaf to float across the lake’s
dirty surface. Every crack in the pavement
is part of a letter penned in script,
its fissures just wide enough to admit
a trail of insects walking toward the ghosts
of bodies trapped in a cavern below.
They drink from a trickle of rainwater
falling into the basin. They save
a thimbleful of pee for that time no one
speaks of— Please, don’t tell them it’s
over. When you shred a dandelion’s slight
corona in your hand, don’t mention the sound
of buildings collapsing. Don’t tell them
the morgue has run out of sheets, the funeral
parlors have run out of candles and coffins.
In response to Via Negativa: Childhood memory.
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.