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.

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 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.


This entry is part 92 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


My parents owned an inexpensive set of china
showing a world glazed in blue and white: a few
three-tiered pagodas, thumbnails of gardens
planted to peach or willow trees. Villagers
crossed footbridges presumably to the next
town beyond the rim of the dinner plate,
and fishermen dipped their nets in placid
water. A woman sat at an upstairs window
reading a book, or doing sums, or writing
in a journal. A man cooled his bare feet in
the shallows, not doing anything much.
It was always dawn or dusk, and small birds
flew toward a miniature sun above the trees.
They could not have gone too far
from the periphery, nor pierced the convex
glass of the dome that rested on the plate—
so then what is that smudge on the sill,
what has become of the woman who once
sat there with her inks and scrolls?

Luisa A. Igloria
03 17 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 93 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Today a poet read these words transcribed
from a different language: “Mi destino intermitente”
—and a door opened into a garden where the weather
was overcast and damp, but things were growing:
for instance, new leaves of lamb’s-ears looking delicately
furred, alive, alert. We passed through and touched
the dark veins of flowers pulsing on the vine, caught
our spindle-shaped reflections— fusiforme
in puddles of water. Sometimes the world bends to
your position. The wasp returns to its nest and
finds it in tatters. Sometimes it is enough to live
in the complicated arc between losing and finding,
enough to gather what sweetness remains.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 16 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


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


“…When you lose something,
it’s so you can learn how to search.”
—Dean Young

No sign of the spoon— and the fork and the knife
on a string— that he lost as a child

No sign of the furry brown bear— with the real
glass eyes— that I took to bed at night

No sign of the phoebes— they came to dip
for water— that were here yesterday

No sign of the robin— it rang and rang— that embroidered
its banner with song then fell strangely silent

No sign of the little stone buddha— and his necklace
of rosy children— that cracked on the pavement
when it fell from my pocket

No sign— but blue scales on the kitchen floor—
of the fish that jumped from the bowl by the open
window, startled by the barking of the dog next door

No sign of the moon— though I know it’s about to poke
over the horizon— big like a woman with child

No sign of the cordillera— though I glimpsed mountain-
and-valley pleats tattooed under the poet’s collar

No sign of the fog and its blue signature— I cannot see
my own breath— curled beneath noon’s yellow shawl

Luisa A. Igloria
03 19 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.