A girl cries into her mobile, bites
the ends of her scarf. She says
her heart feels like it's going
to burst. Are you there?
Are you there? On an island
in Japan, or in a town I can't
remember, someone has put up
a booth from which to call
the dead. Hundreds have made
this pilgrimage to pick up
the receiver and speak into it
or sing, while crows roost on its
little roof, while rain or hail
drums on the glass. Do you
like flowers? There are flowers.
And a shot glass where someone
once poured a drink; a dog-eared
novel, an unused airline ticket.
A man sits on a bench under
the corner streetlight. He
is waiting for the bus, or
he will spend the night there
in his thin coat unless
the storekeeper and his wife
take him in. Does he ever feel
like his heart is going to burst?
Maybe his heart burst long ago.
Maybe there is only before
and after the heart burst.
Where it actually burst, a page
was added to the telephone
directory; a loaf of bread
disappeared from the shelf.
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 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.