Study and Infinite Variation

Dear Gabriel, Little Mayor, Little
Angel of the short clipped wings,

the Saturday afternoon buzz
cut and men’s manicure: now I am

at least ten years past the age
when you took your marriage vows,

defying your mother who couldn’t
stand your bride’s seamstress hands,

the smell of rice husk, snails, corn
fields in her hair. Closer than ever

to my own hibernal, still I don’t see
the lines unblur in our genealogy.

In front of the produce bin, I try
to read between lines of graffiti

sketched on the deep plum slate
of eggplants, recall the names

of various peppers you taught me:
Cubanelles, Habaneros, Thai bird

chillies. Who are you, really; and where
are you from, though I know you’re half

of who made me? Summers, we took a jeep
to the beach, where I helped to bury you

up to your neck in sand for your annual
cure. You fell asleep, face shielded

by a hat; then hours later, broke through
that flimsy tomb and, laughing, ran into

the foam. Damp haunches, I’m still here:
pondering the shape you left in the loam.


In response to Via Negativa: Spell.

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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