—Bahay na bato: middle class, colonial Filipino house, c. 1850
A harp in the center of the living room,
meant to reflect the shimmer of wind.
Seamed overlap of curved shells
that skirt the length of walls.
Under every cane-striped lounging chair,
a sepia-stained chamber pot.
Fleur-de-lis, geometry of sunken shapes: fine
debris of sweets and dust in ancient cookie stamps.
Lace the color of old tea. Swirled wood
that holds the secrets of four-posters.
Slippers of brocade, rows of glass
atomizers on the night-stand.
In the cool, high-ceilinged toilet, a two-
seater commode gives proof of their intimacy.
Beneath the balcony, frogs lisp on the cistern’s
mossy lip: water source, hiding place; route to escape.
—from Maps for Migrants and Ghosts © Luisa A. Igloria
LUISA A. IGLORIA is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Poetry Competition for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (forthcoming, September 2020, from Southern Illinois University Press); and the author of 14 books of poetry, most recently The Buddha Wonders If She Is Having a Mid-life Crisis. Awards include the May Swenson Prize and the Resurgence Poetry Prize, the world’s first major ecopoetry award. She is a Louis I. Jaffe Professor and University Professor of English and Creative Writing in the MFA Program at Old Dominion University; she also teaches at the nonprofit Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, VA. Her work has appeared in journals like Orion, The New England Review, Poetry, Poetry East, Shenandoah, Crab Orchard Review, Lantern Review, and Cha.
Link to Table of Contents.