As dreams are made on…”
—Shakespeare, “The Tempest”
A wasp the size of an espresso bean
bangs against the kitchen window three times,
as if he were a penitent. In the corner of my eye,
mercurial flashing of wing: a winter wren.
Today’s the day groups of flagellants might go
to the river to rinse the blood crusted on their backs,
the stripes where cord and metal nicked elastic
flesh. Such pageantries of suffering, our lives
rounding toward the dream of sleep and rest,
their waters all-forgiving… Meanwhile, owls fly
straight into the greying dusk, wide-eyed, as though
released from any doubtfulness. Muffled flight
and snatch in mid-air, quick skim over pond water:
some things are meant to be eaten whole. We find
any parts leftover in the morning like relics
among the stones at a martyr’s tomb— little
winding sheet of tattered wing, clean bone of an eye
socket; a halo of dust where it all came to pass.
Strange things pleased me:
paint pearls that dried along the edges of wainscoting,
everything too hot or humid to neatly work in place.
And so that one summer when a rash of budu-budu
plastered the limbs of trees with their rust and chestnut hair,
our bodies prickled at the thought of touch. Was it why
the river always seemed so enticing? Rocks with their slip-
skins of moss, whips of grass that lined the banks.
Who passed around that dipperful of rice wine
and how many mouths drank until the sun went down?
The flavor of that day is mostly lost though I can finger
its edges— The sun scorched everything in its path,
confusing boredom with desire, lassitude with thirst.
No wonder it was easy to drink. No wonder it was hard
to tell why we did things we once said we’d never do.
Luisa A. Igloria is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world's first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of the chapbooks Haori (Tea & Tattered Pages Press, 2017), Check & Balance (Moria Press/Locofo Chaps, 2017), and Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015); plus the full length works, Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (selected by Mark Doty for the 2014 May Swenson Prize, Utah State University Press), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She teaches on the faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University, which she directed from 2009–2015. www.luisaigloria.com