This entry is part 91 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Evening of the first day, the man who owned a truck yard
next door laid out plywood sheets on hard ground and said

Come— And all the neighbors came, bringing blankets,
sheets, canvas tarp, burlap— The very young and the trembling

old slept in vehicles, windows cracked open for air—
And the night air was notched with metallic smells but also

something almost sweet, like flowers— I did not want
to think what kind– And the following day it rained,

and then again the next, so between aftershocks we collected
water in pails and tin drums— Someone had a kerosene stove

and lit it in the shadow of the broken shed where the honeysuckle
vines were a vivid green interspersed with orange— And still

we refused to go indoors, though gradually we crept
back to those parts of our homes still standing— Porches

were good for sleeping— When the sun glimmered
through thin clouds we heard news of a few places

where we could walk to line up for bread, rice,
canned goods— And someone had busted a water pipe

near the park (just a little they said) and people went
with cans and plastic tubs for water— And the men

came back weeping, having dug out bodies from collapsed
buildings, from vehicles overtaken by landslides

on the mountain road— And strangers offered
rides, and helicopters hovered in the sky— And we heard

lamentations and questions on the lips of everyone— Faces
streaked often and easily, eyes filling with tears and blinking

not from the sunlight but from what they could barely endure—

Luisa A. Igloria
03 15 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Landscape with Red Boots and Branch of Dead Cherry

This entry is part 90 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


In a photograph, a woman sits on her haunches
amid a sea of debris. Her feet are bare. A pair of red
rain boots caked with mud perches neatly at her side,
the way they might rest in a parlor. The sky is the color
of rain, the color of heaving things: water a wall
surging over highways, toppling cars and beams
and lorries. The past tense is already active here—
fields have lost their stenciled borders; there’s little left
to read in maps. Above the burning cities, snowflakes
scatter, wandering back and forth like spirits. I watch
one explode against the branch of a dead cherry.
Croak of a raven making the shape of a thousand names.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 14 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 89 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


What would you give up or do for others
this season of sacrifice, penance, and fasting?

asks the Catechism teacher of the fourth
and fifth graders. A boy in the classroom
writes, his struggles with spelling equal to
those with theology and science: “Lint
is an elemental metal that is light and
durible.” Oh merry mixed-up strand
in the middle of all this gravitas, yarn
twisted in domestic hue— Lint, he said:
lint from the undersides of sleeves; pillings
gathered in the pockets of our coats, fur
left behind by the feral cat pressing
its belly to the grass— all the little
parts that come off, that we shed as we
scrape through the surfaces of days.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 13 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 88 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


“Mira: you will never see faces like this again” —C.D. Wright
And so therefore yes, every [expletive] poem is a love poem.

Sunrise: from a thousand feet up, the cry of a lost shorebird, circling the long brown waves of hills. Picturesque, no? Almost like a Breugel. Do not ask what it is grieving for, but why. And Obi-wan Kenobi sensed the destruction of Alderaan: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.” See if in another part of the frame there is a figure falling, fallen, drowning, drowned; if just beyond those hills, that smudge is the smoke of cities burning even as they churn into open water, the land a cracked template that will no longer hold. What are those bodies doing on the rooftops of buildings? For whom do they open their mouths and cry? Prayers and lamentations, oaths, pleading. Who has not lost anything? I would be the dog that wants to embrace its doggy life, would want to suck on the gristle right down to the bone; I don’t know about you, but that’s what I know of immanence. I would be the horse that wants to scratch its behind on the tree as long as it still could. The children want to skate in a pond at the edge of the wood because there, the trees light up like fire; and the cold that stings their faces and the thin patches of ice make the blood beat hard in their chests. What do you love? What do you love? Everything that can be given, everything that can be taken away.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 12 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

After Hokusai’s Thirty Six Views

This entry is part 87 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Above the tree line, a cloud bank edged in indigo.

Once, a woman unrobed to show the scars she bore as she ran down a road long ago, a child with her mouth open, ash falling from the sky.

Water thunders in every ditch. A freight train wails.

Ships have disappeared into the sea, tugboats, frailer craft. An airport is submerged in water.

So still, as if the world were tensing for another blow.

The ground is mostly bare again. The wind is salted with fine flakes.

And if time is the enemy, what is the name of the wind that blows
fine sand into my eyes?

Poised in the hollow of the wave, the fishermen huddle. You could count their heads, smooth like beads on an abacus or a prayer chain.

And after the blows, the softening.

The gnarled parts often contain water, hardened through the years.

So you say you know the Chinese character for “squander”— but I want to know first what there is to spend.

A hand raised in greeting is a cup, a well, an oasis.

And yes, every poem is about love.

Scientists tell us there are fine tremors in the earth every day that we do not even feel.

Think of so many of these in any given moment, especially the ones that feel completely still.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 11 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Impression, with Rain and Buds

This entry is part 86 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Hard rain falling into slush, fog thickening— cloud into cloud, gathered fistfuls of spray. I cannot tell where the edge of the lilac begins, cannot remember when I last glowed yellow like its buds. Incandescense is a hard word to track. On the streets, cars swerve or drive through intersections of water; it’s high tide too. The trees stipple with milk-white and tender pink blooms. How can there be such things in the world, almost oblivious to suffering?

Luisa A. Igloria
03 10 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry (via Blackberry).

Letter to the Hungry Ghosts

This entry is part 84 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Dear unseen, constantly unsated ones,
I’ve fed you on your feast days, remembered
to bring you water or wine in clear shot
glasses. For you the first pared slices of fruit,
the first hot mounds of rice scooped into doll-
sized bowls before the steam even hit
our faces. Sizzling oil and fat, sugar, sage,
citrus. Cake and cream, batter and bread,
even the crust at the bottom of the pan.
Should I have offered you sweetbreads:
say, my own liver, my lungs, my heart?
I’d pictured the afterlife as a kind of zen
garden: a long corridor lined with suites
in a 24/7 spa where souls washed clean
and free from grasping desire now
wander in a state of fragrant, aimless bliss.
So why have I heard you snarling in the dark,
hatching ruinous plots and making mine-
fields of our backyards? There are new
holes there today that can’t have been made
by the lone squirrel disinterring its breakfast,
cleaning off the dirt with its teeth.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 09 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Sonnet to Fleeing Things

This entry is part 85 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


“The stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed time;
and the turtledove, and the crane, and the swallow,
observe the time of their coming.” —Jeremiah 8:7

Dear Life, every time I think I’ve caught up,
there you go speeding by, waving as you pass.
Why do I always have to be the one who has
to snap the documentary photograph,
spontaneous yet looking artfully composed
thanks to those swans at the edge of the frame?
Their necks crane north, their aim some
obviously fairer mecca where, among hosts
of other migratory souls— terns, pintails, rainbow bee-
eaters and cedar waxwings— they’ll search out currents
of warmer air to help them soar. Oh small intervals
that mark these earth-bound cycles: in the mean-
time I’ll turn my gaze to the late snow outside,
speckled with shadow though eggshell white.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 08 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry, with thanks to Ira Sukrungruang, whose Facebook status this morning also inspired the first two lines of this sonnet.

Petition for Something Other than White

This entry is part 83 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Someone has clothed the trees in old white
feathered house coats. They stand in a line
against the bluff, waiting for the cantina
to open. They’re not very happy with
the costume; and someone could turn up
the heat, you know. It’s almost noon: they
want something more than that blue backdrop
the color of hard gum. Someone could crank
some mojo into red dixie cups— say, shots
of tequila and lime to the swell of a throaty
serenade. And at each cafe table, dark-haired
gitanos in heeled zapatos de flamenco, dark-
haired women looking like they’re always ready
to toss their hair back, flash their eyes, clench
their teeth around a long-stemmed rose.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 07 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Ghazal of the Almost Obvious

This entry is part 82 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Small leaves like torn paper sleeves on
the dogwood; green arms barely obvious.

In a quiet room with mirrors, the sounds
of breathing seem multiplied, more obvious.

Faint red smudge at the wood’s edge— if
burning, if blooming, not quite obvious.

Small rain on an east wind, small sparrow,
small cloud: the moon’s fingernail, not obvious.

I burn sheaves of things on the open plain
and look for signs of what’s not quite obvious.

Thread me silk, thread me linen and hemp.
The shroud’s undone every night, isn’t it obvious?

Luisa A. Igloria
03 06 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.