After last night’s rain, the snow fits each dip and hummock more tightly, like a garment shrunk in the wash. The creaking of doves’ wings.


  1. Netsuke*

    How many worlds could fit into a leather pouch, strung
    through cord and looped around the waist? Wood

    or ivory, horn or bone– antlers and hooves,
    miniature wings and fins, even the tiny pulleys

    that hoist these breakable joints. The smell
    of trees is sharp from the balcony. I love

    to slide open windows, doors; to open things
    with lids. When my nose bled nearly every day

    for a year, the elders broke an egg into water;
    they cast rice grains to read upon its membrane,

    then wove me a secret name. They thatched
    its syllables to fleece, embroidered it on all

    the towels. Like a novice, I wore its jangly shape
    on my stick arms and legs. I read today of how

    a name can be a kind of homework in this life–
    for instance, the Buddha saying “Sakyadhita”.

    If I had known, I might have listened harder
    for the creaking of doves’ wings.

    After last night’s rain, the snow fits
    each dip and hummock more tightly:

    an old garment I can’t bear to give away–
    worn smooth, softer now, but shrunk in the wash.

    ~ Luisa A. Igloria
    01 19 2011



    Washlines strung on gnarled lean-to posts
    Hide hovels with garments shrunk in the wash:
    Dhaka’s label shirts for Hilfiger’s shelves
    Are ready for the children’s harvest—after
    Last night’s rain, dust and mites and muck
    Should have been rinsed off to get them
    Ready for the cackling cutters in slumyards
    Who would bundle “made in China” shirts
    While cracking whips on narrow backs
    Or wraith-like limbs wherever lashes find them.

    After last night’s rain, the snow fits each
    Dip and hummock more tightly, as would mud
    In gaping mouths of children buried in slides
    Of Brazilian earth, or tapered coastlines
    Washed into raging rivers reclaiming
    Riparian rights over garbage landfills
    In Sri Lanka, Benguet, Samar, Pakistan,
    Australia’s Queensland, Chile, Copenhagen,
    Manila, New York, name them, they are
    In today’s AP, Reuters, CNN, Ankara disaster
    News. Nostradamus, Nostradamus.

    The creaking of dove’s wings after last
    Night’s rain is hibernation sound heard
    Round the world. At season’s turn, whirrs
    Of flapping wings might yet bring an avian
    Rainfall—of dead and dying birds plummeting
    To earth not unlike smirking kamikaze pilots
    Immolating themselves for the Rising Sun;
    The cracking of wings after last night’s
    Rain might yet be the mystery of the perishing
    Sandpiper burrowing into tar pits or
    Mallards choking on Gulf Oil cum BP cocktail.

    Ah, rain and snow and creaking dove wings:
    After last night’s rain, they are a bloody plot.


    1. There’ve been mornings I felt like that. Those are, after all, mourning doves.

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