ANOTHER ARGUMENT FOR TRYING TO LIVE, EVEN IN THESE TIMES
All my life, it seems I couldn’t wait for my actual life to begin, for the fizz
bubbles in the wine glass to swirl, eager as parachute jumpers on a clear day.
Call me what you will—I admit, I was naïve like that, believing I should fix
dented things first, patch and get them up to snuff, before moving on to the new.
Every day though, there seem more impediments to the dream. And you can’t rev,
full throttle, into that highway of possibility. Children die, wars prosper: a bayou
growing its own ecology of afflictions. Meanwhile, every postponement
hoards its shadow root system—have you seen estuaries lined with mangroves,
ingenious at leaching fresh from salt water, pushing up tubes for thieving the air?
Jasmines bloom; and the sudden richness of their scent makes a veritable banq.
Keep going, keep working, my unseen drillmaster orders; don’t you dare stop.
Love is often the name it goes by; I am its best pupil. But I never learned to mambo.
My resolutions, moving forward, still involve planning; but also more admitting of the sun,
not dressing only in doom and gloom, starving that too well-learned tendency toward fatalism.
One of these days I’ll repaint the walls a blissful white, add more tomato to a stew of lentil.
Pity I didn’t plant more redolence in my garden, more scent to fatten every fledgling: meek,
quivering under the drenched sweetgum. Every heart makes promises to undertake a haj:
return to the core, to whatever seals the outward journey with inward intention. I
see every bright splinter, and how it makes things more urgent: including the flush
that stains the surface of an ultrasound scan, the shafts of platinum zigzagging
up and down my dark hairline. How does anything resolve? Eat dessert, carpe diem, by the ruff,
venture forth, etc. But no proverb ever said only look after yourself, unto others be unkind. Here,
where we live by the coast, the ocean doesn’t kid around about time. The dread
xiathum expands, overtaking the room, the house, the street, the town. Manic
yawps and disgraceful antics on the news are nothing if the earth itself is the final bomb
—zero extra chances. Only a line from that song my mother used to sing:
que sera, sera.
July 9, 2017
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Luisa A. Igloria: “This poem is a double abecedarian written on July 3, in response to the dismal news we get everyday—this past week it was continuing concerns about health care, and the clear effects of climate change. We also welcomed our first grandchild just three weeks ago—a joyous event that nevertheless heightens my anxieties about our shared mortality and future.” ( website)