It’s in the 40s and noisy with the sound of trucks. Each tree stands in a small circle of melted ground like a bear balancing on a unicycle.


  1. Snowmelt at Tryon Creek

    Each tree stands in a circle of melted ground.
    The sky chips at the rim, and whiter cloud
    shows the wounding of the firmament.

    Scalloped as with bite-marks notes
    the official historian: dark disks of needled soil
    the same as when Socrates Tryon came to the watershed

    and began to manufacture charcoal from trees
    that were saplings when Chaucer was counting out
    the pentameter of Troilus on his fingers.

    Coffee foams through bridge gates. Still to be seen
    Are the scars where, ten feet off the ground,
    the axemen chopped a ledge for the sawyers to stand on.

    Early man killed mammoths in the same way,
    so they say. Till the beast was overcome
    with accumulated wounds.
    It took a pack

    of savage creatures to bring one to the ground.
    Now tourists come to exclaim at the size
    of the paltry second-growth, scrambling

    unwitting over whalebacks of stumps
    beyond the range
    of any word they ever learned for “tree.”

    1. I really like this, Dale — especially the first stanza, coffee foaming, and how the pack of savage creatures are not the mammoths but the men.

  2. Letter to Affliction

    Dear ruefulness, dear regret, I’ve rounded
    the bend and here you are again in the clearing,
    each tree planted like a taper in a circle
    of melted ground. How deep are your roots,
    really? The sky’s chipped at the rim like an old
    piece of crockery– its white band milky,
    its saucer mismatched. Where’s the calico
    napkin appliqued with cats? I’ve forgotten
    if I’ve set the table for dinner or for tea.
    Perhaps it’s not too late to take a long
    vacation by the sea. A fleet of sandpipers
    and gulls holds the rocks at siege. The water
    asks over and over, What is the heart?
    You know it makes a sound louder
    than any internal combustion engine.
    Here I am waiting for the skin of leaves
    to split open; waiting for lightning
    to marble in the marrow.

    ~ Luisa A. Igloria
    02 17 2011


    I, an old man/ a dull head among windy spaces.
    — T. S. Eliot, Gerontion

    It’s noisy with the sound of trucks leaving
    the stripped quarry like some la femme du nuit,
    looking spent in a small circle of melted sheets
    not unlike this barricade of trees fencing me in
    when I should be out among the cormorants
    molesting errant crayfish on the breakwater
    boulders, clamping them with the vise grip
    of beak before dumping them back into a
    cocktail of blackened pools and fetid algae,
    my vaunted daiquiri or limey brew on my
    long vacation by the sea.

    Now you write to ask if it was not too late
    to take this one?

    For hearts frozen with regrets and hollow
    memories, it is finally too late, mon amour,
    because this thaw among sandpipers and gulls
    is also the noise of quarry trucks cracking
    the hard-earned quietude that needs must come
    as an ebbtide when the crushing gulfstream
    has cut the sandbars and left the stripped
    quarry to cover sand holes rending flaccid
    haunches and dying loins. It is too late.

    Mississauga, Ont. 02-17-11

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