Desire Lines

I knew someone who used to clip
newspaper articles about large

natural disasters— earthquakes
and tsunamis in Japan, hurricanes

in the Philippines, landslides in India;
then he’d study the timeline they made,

to try and predict the next upheaval
in the earth’s biography. He believed

we should all keep a similar record
of whatever befalls us every day,

in order to better control not necessarily
the events themselves but our responses

— to not let the accidents of either
grief or joy gain the upper hand, not

forget ourselves in heights of transport
or in the depths of despair. According

to him, the mind needs to train the body
and its network of automatic responses

to stimuli: to stop on call, merely observe
without judgment. To ease the desire line

pulling constantly in all directions: like a spoilt
child, so used to demanding absolute obedience.


In response to Via Negativa: Craft.

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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