Long Life Noodles

~ after Ada Limon

Sometimes when we are eating
or putting more slices of bread

in the toaster or a pod into
the coffeemaker, I’ll feel some slow

loop inside me, as if that planetary
system under the skin knows I am almost

sixty. Maybe there are asteroids jostling
for space, or holes opening up where

there were none. I tell you I’ve had
this cough for more than a month now,

that it’s been going around; that a dull ache
resides somewhere in the vicinity of my left

shoulder, and another in the pocket under
my spine. Remember when we were children

and at birthdays, our mothers would make
a dish of noodles? They’d insist no strand

should be cut or broken: for long life, good
health— hungry mouths slurping up what the fork

or chopsticks coiled and lifted together, steaming
with all that luck. Living here now, we’ve come

to change many ways we do things. Instant ramen,
elbow macaroni stranded in cheese and thickened

cream. When I lift the boxes out of the pantry,
dry pasta rattles its reprimand of I-told-you-so.

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.

Everything

“…bright ash, dark ash, mirror, moon;
a child waking in the night to hear the thunder;
a traveler stopping to ask the way home.”
~ Li-young Lee, “The Undressing”

Mornings I want to take back most clearly now—
for a different kind of listening, for keeping us
from seizing at the first summons of the clock;
I want the light to brighten without over-

fevering, to take in its arms again the body
that’s been shifting weight as it cycles from one
moment’s murmurous demands to another. Perhaps
the rain has stopped falling, perhaps the warm

jets of steam escaping from these rows of houses
carry the smells of soaped linens or boiled meat.
Does it matter if the garden fills with the shed
wealth of trees, if the cold is meant to deepen

by the hour? Why couldn’t the birds stay here and not
go south, or the skins of fruit remain supple instead
of darkening to leather? Don’t you want to linger here
in this clearing; don’t you want to remember everything?

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.

Adjusting: A Cento

the living carry on by being fluid

trying too hard is another way to confess
the blueblack uniform of service

if inside is let in and there places change

the general stance over here is based on the unshakeable belief

everything we do is against the crippling light
immigration is always editing

i know no love without teeth
& have the scars to remember

here I stumble
to approximate the durations of others, to appear
of the same time as though of space

wouldn’t I too
be godlike

Or else this dark could be our shelter in the time of long dominion.

And though we are not well suited to the perspectives it opens it is an awesome thing to see. Once you can see it.

*

(Source Texts: Jenny Xie, Jose Olivarez, Jehanne Dubrow, Gertrude Stein, Sawako Nakayasu, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Chiwan Choi, Aditi Machado, Mary-Kim Arnold, Rosmarie Waldrop)

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.

Remembering

The matriarch sits on a bench
in the park as pleasure boats glide
on the man-made lake. In lieu
of a crown, she wears one of her late
husband’s hats. The brim is narrow,
just like its band. It seems to perch
like a squat grey bird with no head
on her head, so it can’t make
a sound. These days she sings,
with no help, the same string of words
over and over, as if remembering. As if
remembering what they could mean.

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.

The flowers on your coat don’t keep still

~ after Armando Valero, “The Little Singer

Day after day brings a panic—
stampede of mothers and children
and goats along a fence, involuntary
movement of arms shielding faces
from a violent spray of gas.
Which is to say, some dreams
seem more extravagant than
others, and yet there are those
among us who will walk for weeks
to touch one. Above, the planets
teeter in their own fire. Nothing
lasts. Or rather, everything ceded
in the end prevails. The goat bleats
and the yellow bird bugles to the moon.
You don’t see or hear the cost of this
pleading so I will illustrate with
the shape of my arms, with hands
making the gesture for warding off
what wants to kill or maim us all.

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.

Aftermath

A partially found poem. “[T’boli Marivic Danyan] inherited the ceremonial dagger of the tribal chief, or datu, from her father, along with the campaign he had fought for almost three decades against a coffee plantation on community land.” ~ Jonathan Watts for The Guardian, July 2018

She tended to the bodies
peppered with gunfire, menfolk

who had been working in the corn—
She tried to change the clothes

of the dead, to put part of her
husband’s brains back inside

his skull so he was fit for burial.
Along with her father and husband,

she lost her two brothers.
The soldiers shoot first

and ask questions later,
if at all. As far as the eye

can see, forests cut down
by logging companies. Coffee

plantations where the ancestors’
resting places used to be. Now,

she is chief of a village with no
guns, fighting for its rights. Who

remembers the time when birds flew,
populating the canopy as if with fruit?

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.

Distance

is what you learn about stars:
how they burn themselves out,
long before you ever get
the messages they’re sending
through light. One day you lift

your head, and it is many years
later: twenty, thirty. You feel so far
away from where you started,
can barely retrace the exact
steps it took to get here. If so
many things have changed, how

come others continue to expect
the opposite? You look at pictures
of yourself from another time: girl
in blue pleated skirt and white
blouse, girl with a white veil.
There are people you haven’t

spoken to in ages, still going to
the same corner bakery for bread
rolls in the morning, still
bickering over who gets the biggest
share of anything. All that too,
you want to put time and space

between. There was a time you thought
you might be able to change old wood
for new, chart a different course
for others. A mistake: each thing
must spend itself until all its light
is gone, even if it doesn’t know it.

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.

Amnion

I may have been born
with my hair in an old
lady bun, my hands buried
deep in the pockets
of a skirt too long for me;
with my feet in socks
wrapped and layered
to cover the peeling scabs.
I may have been born with
a stray tooth sown
in the bed of my gum,
a penchant for blinking
furiously until tears came.
The walls of my father’s
house were full of women’s
secrets: with whispering
above piles of laundry,
and clouds of dirty blood
dissolving in the water.
Someone shook
condensation out
from inside the rice
pot’s lid, and a few
drops touched my cheek.
I came to know how salt
cradles the body in warm
waters at birth, and
how we carry its taste
with us into our afterlife.

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.

Dream, poem

Who says to write
a dream is to cheat
on the poem? Neither
has the ironclad
solution. Or
both delight
in invention.

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.

Madre Paradójica

Orphan: from Late Latin orphanus, from Ancient Greek ὀρφανός (orphanós, “without parents, fatherless”), from Proto-Indo-European*h₃órbʰos. Cognate with Sanskrit अर्भ (árbha), Latin orbus (“orphaned”), Old High German erbi, arbi (German Erbe (“heir”), Old English ierfa (“heir”)

Is there a name for the condition of having
always known you don’t own the body you come into,

from the moment you’re lifted out of the tunnel
and held up by the ankles to make that first,

long-drawn-out wail? The hands of the midwife,
the hands of the nurse taking the body’s measure,

counting the number of fingers and toes, testing
the apparatus of the ears— It doesn’t seem

important whose names are typed into the form
if one can substitute for another, if the body

from which you’ve recently been cleaved was,
after all, surrogate for another. What name,

if any, will you be able to call her? And,
as you grow, how will she be able to staunch

the heavy pull and pain as the body stops
producing the milk, as the walls of the womb

shrink back into themselves and everyone
carries on as if nothing happened? And the new

body to which you are assigned, the one
you are instructed to give the name “mother:”

how does it manage the work of rearing and housing
what is and isn’t part of her? In sleep, in dreams,

all of us reach for the other. Awake, all of us
stand in the circle of our perfect solitude.

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.