Figure Studies

In old photographs, the formal
subject is often always posed:
holding an open parasol, standing
midway on a staircase or with one
foot on the running board of a car.
One could say, a favorite subtext
is certainty: everything finding
its place in the world, everything
pressed into service for a theme:
pulchritude, or coming of age;
and after, the ceremonies of coupling
and aging. The baby in its christening
smock, doll-like in the tiny casket.
The hero coming back bemedalled
after war: one arm in a sling,
one trouser leg hiding the shadow
of an exploded limb. Flowers
or a fake trellis in the background:
as if the figures were mere adornment
to the true subject which is time.

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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