Friend, I tell you I have no real
power in this world but what is given
me: that is, they take one look and see
a woman born in a foreign place,
they point out accents in my speech
to use as argument for how I couldn’t
possibly teach about the nuances
and meanings of literature
or language. Nobody can imagine
anyone’s pain better than through
a story— perhaps that is a power,
but not one I can exclusively claim.
Diligent student though, I count
how many times in a day I stop to think:
what am I really trying to say? Who
has already said it better than I could?
The hope of hopes is that someone
will love us back, will return
with some kind of care the words
we’ve allowed, though haltingly,
out into the open.
In response to Via Negativa: Omission.
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.