I'm a poor imitation of a parrot as boss or calendar planner.
I do better as a minor-minor Houdini
untangling a bowl of pasta ropes with my tongue.
Even better as a lint roller who insists
there can be a little more life after one square.
At meetings I've learned to copy the language of banned
synthetics: transparency, opacity, longevity.
Does knowing a thing can never be destroyed make it happy?
Growing up in a family of breakfast table
I'm still trying to learn the pose "Serene
Buddha of Glacial Composure."
My friends want to sign me up for workshops on Yes You
Can Really Not Give a Fuck.
Several times a day I am torn between misery and elation,
disappointment and hope—
Just pick one, any one, they say with impatience.
But when I finally make my candy selection, most likely
I wind up with the chocolate covered maraschino.
It's the one with the goopy center
that tastes like cough medicine.
Those who don't really know me
sometimes gush: You have such a charmed life.
When I close my eyes I want to see
a line of water buffaloes in tutus,
kicking up their heels
a la Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.
The ensemble has yet to stage "Carmen;"
but when they do I want it to be only that part
where she sings her beguiling seguidilla and convinces
the officer of the guard to untie her bonds.
I want to be that one scene only: the gypsy
woman in red, her laughter the sound
made by clear glass
marbles rolling away, little wicks
of trapped color pulsing like flames.
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.