How to enter the dark

When it is too quiet at night
I wonder what is troubling the waters;

whether the banked clouds we saw
at sundown, their colors rich but muted

like a medieval tapestry, are merely
a screen that hasn’t risen yet

on the next act. Will there be
columns of smoke, towns going

under water, colonies of dead
bees scattered like gold beads

on the grass? When they announce
the evacuation order, you look

around and can’t decide which
of the things that could fit

into one backpack could answer to
the description of essential.

Weren’t you taught all, all
is important to the living body,

everything that could be grafted to it
as well as shorn away? And everything

is also already in your heart— Memory
of feasts made by hand that now

your same hand empties the icebox of,
for fear of the power going out,

the meat and butter going bad, the wilt
and ruin of even the thinnest stalk

of green. Regret: the wrapper around
a gift that hasn’t been torn open,

that hasn’t opened in you some stay
on time. And at night, it’s all you can do

to not give in to the dark immediately.
To count slowly even as you enter it.


In response to Via Negativa: Difficult sleeper.

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.

Leave a Reply

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