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.

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.

Deseo

This entry is part 81 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Midpoint of noon, in the quiet for a moment
the day coheres. Worry is a beached
white whale that’s come to rest
awhile on the outer lip of afternoon.
In Spanish, the word for rest
is Descanso— when the shutters
are turned for siesta against
the searing light, when the little birds
fold into the leaves of the naranja tree.
Slow down, I whisper to the bell
of my own constantly fluttering heart.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 05 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Ghazal of Burgeoning Things

This entry is part 80 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Thin virgules newly drawn on the upper limbs of trees;
and in between, the gathering forms of nests.

I thought the hydrangea bush was dead— but yesterday,
beside the gate, buds of whorled green, clustered like nests.

A pair of hawks glides in and out of the pines, exchanging
urgent, nasal cries: Come hither? Come feather? Come nest?

No longer indistinct, these warming undercurrents in the air.
I’ll cut my hair, trade my soft greys for orange, I’ll leave the nest.

I thought we’d inventoried every trail. But here’s another
flocked with green, smelling of earth, littered with tiny nests.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 04 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

No Two

This entry is part 79 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Days past the last rain and the creek
sings in a lower key, like a boy turning
into a man. The water’s clear, learning
again how to be blue. The minnows know
how pebbles make a splash then eddy,
no two marks ever the same. The girl
who used a stool to clamber into bed
last night it seems swings her long
woman-legs over in the morning.
And then before you know it
they’ve gone away, leaving the braided
grass, the tire-marked lane, the rusted
gate that creaks in the slightest wind.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 03 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Meditation on a Seam

This entry is part 78 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Little bytl, little mallet, hammer
steadying to bear down quick
upon the nail, the polished wood along
the length of the barre hardly belies
the place where, surely, your flat edge
bucked the rivet’s tail against the shaft.

And the dancers, you can almost see them
lay their palms for ballast as they hoist
their grand battements into the air, then
hold them there. And their arms, like brachia
of suspended trees, bend to ease sleek heads
toward the hardwood floor. What do you imagine

the afterlife to be? A brace will bind a sail
to make it taut against the wind. Outside,
the tarp of leaves disguises as its shadow;
a bird rigid in the cold clear air skims
between the currents, its sooty wings
outspread as if in annunciation.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 02 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

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.

Imminence

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.