- after "The Boat 2," Odilon Redon
Rope in the sign of the number
3, I do not kneel before you.
With my arms I'll try to keep
the chalky tent of heaven
from falling in upon itself. I'll
make sure there is no crossbar
from which you could dangle, skin
shed of a dark lover spurned
by a woman whose eye was fixed
on the gleaming fruit, the taste
of all she could know. Naturally
she wanted it more than you.
And the hull of this boat is cathedral
or cave or my own womb; and I
the shape crouched in a sea of heaving
waters felted with salt, presiding
again at my birth. So many more things
to name like children: new stars,
overlooked islands, small tender bodies
encased in nacreous film; bronzed
beasts sitting in their own cultivated
gardens. When they say the universe
is divine: it means look in all directions
and feel the arrival of the vertiginous
future. Everything with its own distinct
outline, each stillness its own delirium.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) was recently appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-2022). She is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 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; she also teaches classes at The Muse Writers’ Center in Norfolk. 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.