Luisa A. Igloria

This entry is part 51 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

“In my end is my beginning.”

There is a mole on the outer corner of my left eye,
another on the upper part of my thigh. The distance
between them: the time it takes for a tear to evaporate.

Where else on the body might you read what’s insisted,
recapitulated, what’s written small? Here is the mouth
with its characteristic stutter, the eyelid with its

recurring tic. Here is skin laid like an embroidered
table runner across the abdomen. On the field
that soon shadows in late afternoon, birds gather.

See the stroke of white on their tails, the faint
orange patch crowning their foreheads.
I want to decoupage the fragments of shadow

they’ve left on the green, the sad, sweet
impermanence of their flickering. Driving home
tonight, I hear on the radio about two comets

that must have collided in space, leaving trails
of dust: they’ve formed a pattern, a kind of tattoo
engraving the otherwise uniform dark.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 50 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

If this is the middle, how long does it last? Once only, I may have come close; but I was never that girl who might have lain in her two-piece suit across the bed of a truck or on a beach under an overhang of rock, saying Let’s give them something to talk about, baby. Forever the wallflower then, even in math class: moving the popular girl with skin like almond cream to stride past in study hour and yank in disgust the extra pencil I’d tucked behind my ear. That calculus is over. This rain at dawn, though: in the half-light, how it makes the green more vivid, how the faltering songs of wood-thrushes chime like timepieces from another world. The flare is brighter still from pent-up longing. The world hasn’t gone away; its roots push deeper. The wind on my tongue tastes like salt from the sea; this late in life I want to roll up the cuffs of my jeans and walk without stopping along its wavering edge.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 49 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

Perhaps you are right and this is the most
one could ever hope to distill from any moment,
the loveliness that puckers and flares

in such heady directions through half-
leafed-out trees— Scent escaping the white
lilacs’ quilled skirts of alabaster and eggshell,

the small fingerprint of a kiss you leave
on my lips each time you go. We’ll grow old
in the aftermath of the question, but not

its flicker. I’m the one who counts the cost of each
lingering: the stubborn dreams ignite, reckless,
despite their long habit of rootedness.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 48 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

Take me back: I tell you I have come too far
from myself. A pebble drops into a well
but I cannot hear its thunk to let me know
it has come to rest. From the kitchen in my
childhood home, I could see the church belfry
clear across the roofs of houses, and the thin
grey cord of birds unspooling overhead at dusk—
Imagine the carillonneur in his wooden cabin
under the bells, striking out the music with his feet
and fists. Through the green wall of woods today,
the dawn sky leaks through a hundred holes.
I rummage in the bowl of random fortunes
and my hand picks out only those with no
coherent answer: Do not walk by yourself
in the dark
. Or, It is better to have a hen
tomorrow than an egg today
. And my heart
after all remains a sieve— Come sorrow; come love;
come mutable chord and struck descant of things.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 47 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

“I dare not eat it, though I starve,—
My poignant luxury….”

~ Emily Dickinson

So clear, it almost hurts: so blue, so green—
that line hurtling into the distance and pulling

like a thick brush-stroke everything that lives
at ground-level: that’s how you’ve lifted me,

little chipped stone that’s traveled
from some far tributary. And the air

is cold, but the heavy clapper sounds the notes
of the bell like a heart hollowed for just this

purpose. But oh, what the bird sings is sweet-
sweet-sweet
. And all these bitter years,

what releases is the same each time: mouth
like the warbler that has learned your name.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 46 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

Every once in a while the branches part
and there is a gleaming splinter of light–

just enough to nick the rough bark, make it seem
like the scritch of a match head had birthed

its copper sides and these rich, fluttering
halos of green. Hard to court abundance,

hard to keep it— And yet, here is a feather
left behind by the crested bird, the silken pods

from the honey locusts, vermillion threads
pulled from the frayed tapestry: what surged

like ripeness once, continues to show its face—
shy homeless waif, knocking again on your door.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 45 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

At an airport many years ago, as people rushed
toward their connections, so bent on where
they needed to go, so sure of what they were
leaving behind— What was it I glimpsed through
the sliding doors? Indecisive figure on the sidewalk,
head tilted one way, body tilted the other: bird
listening for the coming of rain the same way
I feel the tug, mid-morning, of bell-like tones
that filter through the screen, warning of weather
even as the sun pours through and through.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 44 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

Do you remember I told you about the afternoon
in the coffeeshop, the heat another layer of white
laid across the stucco, the silver samovars lined up
on the shelf next to blue and yellow ceramic bowls,
the espresso machine hissing in the corner?
Distracted by so much warmth, I asked the girl
tending the register if I could draw the sheer
Roman shades partway down. And then
the man walked in, mobile phone at his ear,
hips sheathed in denim; white shirt off-setting
a burnished face, the grey hair at his temples.
He carried a gift bag swathed in ribbons. Outside,
tiger and spicebush swallowtails splayed open
their wings, circled, then rested on the white lilac.
The woman he was waiting for arrived.
They took the table farthest from the windows.
They held hands, they kissed. Birthday?
smiled the girl bringing cappuccinos and napkins.
The woman smoothed her dark brown hair.
Packing up my papers and my books and pens,
I peered at the sky. If it had rained right then
I might have gone out under the trees to be
like the lover and his lover, awash in that murmur
passing like a single flower between them.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 43 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

Dear invisible hand scribing the surface
of this vinyl platter, you usher in a new
soundtrack: buzz of a black-throated warbler,
catbird’s brassy solo. All cool and nonchalant—
but underneath: the faltering notes of what
we want so much to say but can’t. Fluttering
skin, stroked by feathers. If I begged you to stay,
if I begged you to take me away? What then?
But I don’t. In the evenings, the crickets repeat
their two-note arias. Under the trees, fireflies
send stuttering messages across the dark.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 42 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

We found the feathered body
beneath the window, red claws
stiffened into lower case C’s.

*

Whose voice is that then,
launching its frisson of a rising trill
across the field?

*

So little time: I clasp
the little tremor in my throat,
your hand under the table.

*

We pass the cup’s
clear lake of green
tea between us.

*

The French lilac answers,
its bright shimmer
backlit by the sun.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.