Say cotton, say the crease
in the sleeve of a shirt,
the plainness in a collar,
the brim of a hat. If the future
is here, whose face greets you
in the mirror as you collect
water in your hands; as you hand
your money over the counter
to pay for bread, a cup of coffee,
a ticket? A man on the train steps
in the path of someone he doesn’t
even know, or trails another man
home in his truck for two
whole miles to spew insults
in his foreign-looking face. How
are they the future too? Your heart
holds its breath, lurches from platform
to crowded lobby. Say elegy, insistence,
not blank stare. Say danger and defiance.
Not fold over, not shoulder shrug.
In response to Via Negativa: Pulse.
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.