Letter to Green

This entry is part 77 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Weathered mountain laurel, green bush
under the trees. No tube of verdigris or beryl
could wash you drab. Nile green, emerald
and olive, scale of a fin disappearing in bottle-
blue water. Thumbnail of lime, salted kale,
rough my heart up in the pines. Bronzed
and bladed, apple-green, Prussian-sheened
and prismed, sometimes you hurt my eyes
but I can’t look away: set us all on fire.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 01 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Letter to Water

This entry is part 76 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Dear moisture, dear nearly soundless
rain that falls all night to turn the fields
into sheets of soggy Canson paper, the reeds
are soaking their feet in sepia. Some nights
I’ve roused from sleep to hear your sharp
artillery deflecting from roofs and windowpanes;
other times, almost unlikely, you’ve warmed
the glass to make trees loom and fade through fog
while in the distance, streams carol like frogs.
In monsoon months you’ve painted maps with mold,
new worlds of islands in swirly skirts, darkening
at the hems with salt water; you wrote to me
a daily script on the ceiling that I tried to read,
lying in bed at night. I’ve put away those letters,
pretending I didn’t know your other names
and how they all spell willfulness, swift change,
precipitous and unpredictable nature.
Tantalus wants just a bite of fruit from the bough,
washed down by a chaser; and the Danaids
only want to be done with that never-ending
business of filling and emptying those joke-store
jars pre-riddled with holes. When I was seventeen,
confused and green, my ex- took me hiking, then
at the summit leered “Don’t tell me you don’t know
what I want.” But the clouds shifted— I’m not
making this up— We were drenched, a thunderstorm
had saved me. You know the feeling, when every pore
is saturated with dampness and maybe a sliver
of wistfulness or longing; and there’s not
a towel in sight, not a hair-dryer, not a clean
dry sheet smelling simply of air and light.

Luisa A. Igloria
02 28 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 74 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Gray sky, gash of a gray breast feather
laid across the snow. It must have been
a dream— I walked up a flight of stairs
to a room where, with every step, a cloud of insects
rose from inside each plank of wood. Like wraiths,
they circled. They wound tissue ribbons and dogged
my heels. I cried out and a voice replied
with some kind of apology. Waking, I found
three plastic discs with electrodes still stuck
to my shoulder blades, to the small of
my back. A thin humming, slight as wings,
disappeared over the roof of my brain.
In the maple, shadow of a sharp-shinned
hawk; and somewhere, some small creature
flattening itself against the ground.

Luisa A. Igloria
02 26 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 72 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Above the road’s dead grass and gravel,
beneath the raftered lattice of tree limbs,
one crow cries, high and shrill. Some days

there’s nothing intermediate, only
the line that cleaves between suspension
and release. I’ve walked from back

door to gate to rutted street.
And the times I’ve done it over—
the bees fluting their heady pollen

one season, the moths tearing
their shrouds at dusk. When I
come in, sometimes I peel

the burr off the hems of pants,
and twilight has come to rest
its arms on the window ledge.

Luisa A. Igloria
02 24 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 71 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


There is so much I did not know.
For every sapling of silver birch, flowering cherry,
elder, chaste tree and mountain ash—

trees of a darker timber: red stinkwood,
yellow wood, Mukui and Meru oak; mahogany,
Flame kurrajong and cigar cassia.

At the kitchen table over tea and cookies,
my friend visiting from Kenya tells me
of local witchcraft and sorcery.

In the coastal towns of Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale
and Malindi, a number of fishermen will weave
the hair from albinos into their fishing nets,

believing their golden glimmer will bring
a bigger catch. All the children with bodies
the sun has dusted with its chalk

have gone into hiding, all the men
and women. Their legs and arms are
amulets, their fingers and ears, genitals.

Backlit by the sun, a hoarfrosted forest
glitters with captured ice. I read
news stories of miners

who quarter the limbs of the kidnapped
and bury them like magic stones
to make gold grow.

The crow flies over trails, following
a running stitch of red.

Luisa A. Igloria
02 23 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Letter to Spam

This entry is part 70 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Can you keep a secret? They will never know. In my e-mailbox at work this morning, this message: When wearing one of Practically Genuine’s clones, you won’t have to worry about being caught. How? We manufacture all our products (from the inside/out). Using the same metals, markings, materials as the originals ensures the perfect clone. In 1936 the pantywaist was a type of child’s garment with short pants that buttoned to the waist of the shirt. In Old English, a stole is a long robe, a scarf-like garment. Clergymen wore it. Frankly, I much prefer the sixteenth century use of doublet (root, Fr. duble) as “one of two things that are alike.” Keep this quiet and your friends, family, co-workers, and loved ones will never know the difference. Six inches of fresh powder. A pair of squirrels will wrestle in it, then go up the big maple, couple on the trunk, retreat to separate limbs. All those little gropings in the shadows. Do you need a translator? Think of it. History is full of copies, some of them cutting themselves out of the landscape right now.

Luisa A. Igloria
02 22 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Letter to Rubbermaid and Tupperware

This entry is part 69 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Dear aggregate of semi-synthetic solids, dear
clear acrylic, polyester, silicone, polyurethane
or halogenated plastics; menagerie of molded
food boxes separated from their lids and falling
to the floor as I root around in the kitchen
cabinets— I’m certain my ancestors could not
have had the same early morning dilemmas
as I do: where to stash that bit of leftover
scrambled egg or steel-cut oatmeal, which
cute snack holder will keep the grade-
schooler’s cut-up kiwi and blueberries
from spilling and turning the bottom of her
book bag into a mulch of paper and fruit.
Outside, chipmunks traverse a fresh cement of
wintry mix, their tails italic with urgency.
A bento box holds carrot flower cups and
shiso leaves against neat rows of jeweled rice.
Here, shelves of ice-coated branches rattle
in the wind; unrolled, how far east would their
cellophane sheets reach? On highland trails
in my childhood home, woodsmen make
their way to town with provisions in leaf-
lined baskets: boiled shoots and purple yams,
salads of curly fern; dried venison and quail
fermented with smoke, salted with dew.

Luisa A. Igloria
02 21 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Letter to Levity

This entry is part 66 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Dear buoyancy, dear levity, dear
little digression; dear necessary respite
from gravity and circumspection, your voice is
just audible over the wind like a junco’s chitter—
Leaves like tongues lift off from the newly melted
forest floor, busily trading all kinds of news
from the world— for instance, why did I not know
before today of Qaddafi’s all-girl coterie of virgin
bodyguards, smart as models in their khaki outfits;
or of how he sometimes likes to camp out in five-
star hotel gardens in a sumptuous, heated Bedouin
tent guarded by a camel? Or of Unsinkable Molly B,
the cow that jumped a slaughterhouse gate and fled
authorities by swimming across the Missouri river?
(She’s safe now in a Montana sanctuary.) They say
that Elton John’s in town this weekend: I want to know
if he’s traveled with the same grand piano that workers
in Tsarkoye Selo scratched their heads over, wondering
how to hoist it through the narrow windows of Catherine
the Great’s gilded ballroom. And what about those three
men in Malaysia who made off with 725,000 condoms
(still missing), or the Mexican woman now on her ninth
day of a hunger strike, demanding an invitation to Prince
William’s wedding? A 35 year-old naked man was captured
on surveillance video taking sausages from the kitchen
of a retirement home. Who knows why these things happen?
Perhaps an inexplicable longing seized them all in the night,
some order not to be disobeyed flashed on in the cortex
of the brain. Once, my daughter’s piano teacher mistook
a gift of strawberry body butter for yogurt. She called,
half laughing and half in pain, saying she was just
so hungry, that it smelled so beautiful and good; and
suddenly she wanted it, more than anything in the world.

Luisa A. Igloria
02 19 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.