or violence: the moment a bridge
collapses from a blast, the moment
when students thronging the streets,
a million strong with banners and clenched
fists, approach the president's palace
and guards rush toward the gates. That
moment when the candidate steps up
to a podium and hand grenades explode
in the middle of a crowded plaza. After,
along with the dead and wounded, they
will count broken cantilevers, sheared
abutments; do inventory of Molotov
cocktail parts, pore over the astonishment
of pictures showing how one man stood
facing the oncoming tanks, how laser
pointers wove a thirty-mile mesh of blue
and green to scramble facial recognition
cameras. But what of the stillness
before the surge, those inscrutable
minutes before the senator in a white suit
starts moving toward the door of the plane,
the seconds before he's pushed from behind
and shot, and he lands face-down on the tarmac?
The space of a heartbeat fills much too quickly
with history, small as the cry of the child
in Book Six of The Iliad: afraid of the man
decked out in armor, then momentarily appeased.
His father lays down his plumed helmet, and
he is again only a mortal among other mortals.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for her manuscript Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press in fall 2020. She 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 former US Poet Laureate 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.