Graupel

This entry is part 26 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

“To win all the tricks by a vole.” —Alexander Pope

Drifting snow, snow that blurs the edges of the world again so that all I can think of this morning is how fragile the line between beauty and sorrow. Here is the edge of glass, here is the cold screen mesh, here is the print on the frame. A snow dervish whirls on the side of the road and travels a dozen feet before collapsing. How the little ghosts of dog roses and hellebores rise like wraiths from the ground as if to spite us, how beneath the John Clare roses, the Burgundy Icebergs and the Brittens, their plain clustered heads more deeply touch me. Just yesterday, a child no older than my own rose in the morning to rinse her face— did she tether a scarf around her neck to go into the day, did she go down her front walk and ride into town, one arm of the sky’s burnished parenthesis drawing her closer, back to the day of her birth? Drifting snow, just deep enough to provide cover for voles. Drifting snow, drifting through channels; later, battering our windowpanes with pellets of ice.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.09.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Vertices

This entry is part 24 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Somewhere in Plummer’s Hollow,
a man sits clipping his nails
this morning. There

is snowfall, light as down.
Much further east, uncommon frost
recedes into the hills of Atok, Benguet,

studding the heads of cabbages,
stalks of wild grass, flowers.
Wasn’t it there

conquistadors sought
the fabled orange tree that flew or fell
from El Dorado? Under the earth

are jars of ore and silver.
Little flotillas of creased paper
go down the creek. Sometimes

it seems the past might never
have happened. But even here
the ends of threads are gathered;

the lines on the horizon draw
this world into the other one.
And back and forth the shuttle goes.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.07.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry. Atok, Benguet is a mountainous municipality in western Luzon northeast of Baguio City, where Luisa grew up. Due to the elevation, occasional frosts occur, with devastating effects on vegetable growers.

“Paired or unpaired, all in the world…”

This entry is part 23 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Paired or unpaired, all in the world
yet moves forward—

A smudge of ash falls through the still air, fragile as a snowflake; nuns’
shoes of molded blue rest by the temple doorstep, inscribed
with names and messages.

Together, hundreds of fish that have perished in the rivers;
thousands of red-winged birds tumbling out of the sky.

Today, only the sun smolders on the ridgetop
between columns of oaks.

Even this not-speaking is speaking to me.
And tomorrow?

Nothing to do but steel the heart again for the crossing;
wait for the fog to clear.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.06.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Filament

This entry is part 22 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Anything voiced against the wall of a whispering gallery will be audible to a listener standing diagonally on the other side. Look for a place where two pathways intersect, where a vaulted roof forms a shallow dome. In a story I once read, a man spoke just under his breath to a woman across the room. His secret kindled like a flame as though he were by her side, or inside. The sides of the cupola are blue with shadow, but the pillars have the warm tint of citrus. Marble is veined, and not always cold. You’d think a low murmur might carry faster through uninhabited rooms; but it finds its way, even in a thicker medium. Just fling a window open. Let the heavy curtains learn to babble in the wind. Listen to the low-key chattering match of nuthatches a hundred yards apart. Outside, flakes fall through the air—just enough to leave the barest fur on the ground, like a leaf’s glaucous bloom.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.05.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Despedida de Soltera

This entry is part 21 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Three of my four music teachers were nuns. And the neighborhood referred to my very first piano teacher as the spinster— she wore dark clothing, sensible shoes, agua de colonia flor de naranja. She lived alone, with only part-time help; she never told anyone where she went in summer: “Soltera”. But I’ve always preferred this nod to solitude, to single-tude; the way impudent “l” pushes away from gossipy “o” and fakely coy “e” to bump up against “t” as if to say— So what? Years later, I’m still amazed at how much they knew: the libraries of trills and crescendos hidden underneath wimples and lace shawls; the ways they coaxed feeling from generations of wooden pupils surreptitiously kicking their legs into the piano’s soundboard. Listen to the advance of notes in this passage, they’d say: surf shirring the sand, or horses’ hooves soon coming around the bend. And then the clearing drenched in the scent of violets, which moves you inexplicably to tears. From my bedroom window, the chair backs in the garden are scrolled like treble clefs. It’s still mostly dark when the first faint pink spot appears in the clouds. I lie within that brief interval of solitude just before the day advances, slow and red. A raven croaks.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.04.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Wake

This entry is part 20 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

What remains, what rises early to the surface of the world— Handkerchiefs of snow on the cobblestones; overhead, the thin plume written by a jet lost to sight. The eyelash curl of a tilde over the “n” in a name I used to have. Hedges unhooked from the foliage. Brown runnels in the soil. Flamenco music raining little hands of silver from a high window. Flecks of ash on the staircase, disappearing on the sixth floor landing. Palm print on a cafe window. Ink traveling from a page of newsprint to the doorknob, whose muted note of brass gilds your image in reverse.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.03.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Postcard

This entry is part 19 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Some days the sun shines high from its balcony but not unkindly, like the hostess at a party scattering good luck coins and candy to the children gathered below. You used to cut my hair in the garden: I sat on a stool under the guava tree, with an embroidered towel fastened around my neck. Fringed across the forehead, my hair never grew past my shoulders. When the ends began to curl like upturned fingers against my shoulders, it was time to trim. The shadow of my head reflected in the kitchen window behind, or appeared on the railing. When you were done you shook the shorn locks from my nape, the flocked towel like a matador’s cape. One night you woke me from sleep and carried me on your back, walking through thigh-high grass. Where did we go? I do not remember, only that a south wind slammed the corncrib door. I open and close my hands. Sometimes I find a wispy hair, or a sweet; sometimes a coin whose currency has dulled, but not its glimmer.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.02.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

“For the sun’s approximate blaze…”

This entry is part 18 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

For the sun’s approximate blaze, what
would we not do? Outline the gray sky thin
as an eyelid with smoky kohl, powder it
soft bronze. Sweater the tops of trees
in golden yellow, pin bunches of cerise
on the crumpled fields. Lob it a bangle
or two: what do those crows know,
dressed as always in their suits of drab—
on the first day of the year, gargling
like that 18-wheeler into town?

Luisa A. Igloria
01.01.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Speaking of __

This entry is part 17 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Let us lower our voices, said the woman next to me at the bus station; but I know what you are speaking of. Hammock strings have a way of recoiling. Is that when we can no longer lie in it? Then we might go indoors to make the meal, call the children in, unfold the blankets against the night’s chill. Even so there will always be that one place you’ll want to keep setting at the table, the room that will become a shrine. You’ll never catalogue the growing things on that stretch of roadway, how many pieces of glass were rendered from the kuatro kantos bottle; what restraints might multiply in the hands of another. I am sorry too. Resemblance does not often matter. Money? Sex? It could have been a simple thing, the chrome of a radio dial sticking out of a jacket pocket. I listened this morning to stories of refugees trying to cross the Sahara; a woman’s sobs woke me from sleep. From over the ridge, a patrolman’s amplified voice, his words unintelligible. There are places in the world where a blue jay does his best impression of a red-tailed hawk, and then departs. Something like wings scissors in the sunlight. Oh my poor poor sweetheart, moans the woman in the desert, over and over again; I could not even bury him.

Luisa A. Igloria
12.31.2010

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

“Soon the old year must join…”

This entry is part 16 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Soon the old year must join
its dwindling thread to a new
coil of days.

The daylight hours cast
their sheen on sheets of crackling ice,
while oblivious to the dueting wrens,

the chickadee darts through
the lilac. The sun, too, is blurred
by a kind of viscous film so that I think,

Give me fire, or give me water.
Tell me you love me, or tell me more.
And on those days when neither will suffice,

give me coffee and soup— two
of the things my grandmother used to say
should always be served scalding hot.

Luisa A. Igloria
12.30.2010

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.