Photo by John-Henry Doucette/Courtesy of Luisa A. Igloria

Letter, Fumbling Around in the Dark Again

“They can be like the sun, words.

They can do for the heart what light can for a field.”

— St. John of the Cross

Dear fellow pilgrim, today the road seems

a little less cold, a little less clear as we inch

toward the warm mud of April. The hems

of our tunics are far from the earth, our jeans

are double-cuffed. For fear of rain, the cardinal

doesn’t want to hang her prayer flags in the trees.

A few stray flakes come down, like bits of frozen

milk: and I’m out of coffee. Where’s the nearest stop,

some diner where we might use the loo and get

a bit of soup, a knuckle of bread? I know we’re not

going to the Alhambra to walk in the gardens or catch

the view from the Mirador de Lindajara; we’re not

even on the famous road to Santiago de Compostela

where the saint’s remains lie like a star, his bones

unfold like the thorns of a compass rose buried in

the depths of a field … Groucho Marx knew that nights

are dark as the inside of a dog’s belly — but isn’t that

why book lights were invented? I don’t give up easy.

I’m fumbling around for the light switch, for the power

cord, for the fuse box. And there’s got to be something

with which to jimmy the skylights — Think of how

we could open our mouths to evenings of falling stars.

The Independent News posed a question to community leaders, writers and artists: What can we do in the coming New Year to help build inclusive communities amid a time of polarization? If you would like to share your own thoughts, respond to this project or even complain, please email

Igloria, a poet, is the author of Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass, among other titles, including two recent chapbooks, Haori and Check & Balance. She teaches on the faculty of the Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University. Visit for more information about her work.

Poem used with permission of the author.

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