Caulbearer

Yucca brevifolia

By Luisa A. Igloria

Issue 113, Summer 2021

June 01, 2021

Untitled, 2018, by Sofia Hager. Courtesy the artist

Pheasant and nuthatch, five-petaled flower, 
      emerald feather suspended in veils—
we don’t know how long the world can hold
       such specimens of tenderness, how far
the glacial drifts can ferry such tombs,
       immaculate, before they themselves turn
into ghosts—Everything writhes before the dream
        discards what it calculates for reduction:
and yet the yucca moth delivers its eggs 
        inside the flower, even as leaves sharpen
their bayonet-points. At dusk, we scan the horizon
        for anchors and tents; we lean into the wind
hungry for the brass tinkle of hawk bells, 
        the trance-like drone of hegelung. 
We might ride out the coming flood
       before sunlight returns or we’ve softened
to moss, if we split these reeds down their length.  

Luisa A. Igloria

Luisa A. Igloria is co-winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Poetry Competition for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (2020). Her other awards include the May Swenson Prize and the Resurgence Poetry Prize (UK). She teaches in the MFA program at Old Dominion University. In July 2020, she was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020–22).