May 6, 2017

Gabriela Igloria (age 15)

LESSONS

after James Tate

Fathers tell them over and over again not to lean
out of windows, but the sky is full of them.
There is no right and left or up and down when you
look up at the sky. Be careful that you do not fall—

gravity will pull you down. The yellow detour sign
is at an angle where its black arrow points down
at Hell or perhaps up at Heaven. There is no way
of telling which way it truly points.

Once you are in space, the arrow doesn’t matter.
Every way is right and wrong and left and right
and up and down and diagonal at the same time.
The universe is everything and nothing.

What is the answer? School kids say 42 and laugh.
If the answer to the universe is discovered, maybe
everything will change. The universe will fold itself up
like a play after the audience has left, and you are still

wondering about the prestige, the tanks full of water,
and the dead man’s many bodies that are all the same.
You wonder about all the dead bird twins left for no one
in crushed, rusty cages hidden in gaps in magic tables.

The magician has a large fishbowl in his non-existent stomach.
Where is the man who holds the chapter book of your life
in his hands? What do you do when you reach the last page
of your own story? The paradox will close in on itself,

and everything will cease to exist the way it existed before
and will exist again but this time without you—
you, the creator of worlds. Do not lean out of windows.
You will fall into the sky and wonder and inquire and search

and ask too many questions the way kids do
when they ask Why? over and over again.
You tell them Do not lean out of windows,
but the sky is just so hopelessly full of them.

from 2017 Rattle Young Poets Anthology

__________

Why do you like to write poetry?

Gabriela Igloria: “As the years progress, I learn more about myself and more about the world around me, and as I go about each day many thoughts pile up in the back of my mind. As much as I would like to vocally express all my thoughts, I don’t always get the chance to speak my mind. I like to write because writing allows me to ease those thoughts that never make it past my lips. Rather than letting the words roll off my tongue at any given moment, I can preserve them in my head and write them down later when I have more freedom to write whatever I want or need to write. Writing is essentially, for me, an outlet or a friend to whom I can say anything to without a fear of being judged by it.”