A partially found poem. “[T’boli Marivic Danyan] inherited the ceremonial dagger of the tribal chief, or datu, from her father, along with the campaign he had fought for almost three decades against a coffee plantation on community land.” ~ Jonathan Watts for The Guardian, July 2018

She tended to the bodies
peppered with gunfire, menfolk

who had been working in the corn—
She tried to change the clothes

of the dead, to put part of her
husband’s brains back inside

his skull so he was fit for burial.
Along with her father and husband,

she lost her two brothers.
The soldiers shoot first

and ask questions later,
if at all. As far as the eye

can see, forests cut down
by logging companies. Coffee

plantations where the ancestors’
resting places used to be. Now,

she is chief of a village with no
guns, fighting for its rights. Who

remembers the time when birds flew,
populating the canopy as if with fruit?

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.