Of course the bird was on the payroll of the witch. Little sneak, little tattle-tale, it took its fill of crumbs then flew off to let her know she could throw more wood into the fire: Dinner’s coming! The moon shone fitfully through the trees, its face of salt-raised bread as porous as the tales whispered to children in their beds. What’s that glinting under the trees? The smell of sugar wafts through the abandoned house like bad mojo. But what if she were simply a foil, a decoy, an easy target for the bones of a different story; some gypsy, homeless waif herself, subsisting by her wits alone at the edge of the world? Eventually, tresses begin to resemble a nest of twigs where there’s no call for hair appointments. Of course it will seem as though we stirred whole stews out of thin air, rolled dough into darling dumplings shaped like babies. I think the usual language for it is Making do. If I were you, I’d search for politicians lurking in the trees. If I were you, I wouldn’t believe all the stories I heard. Women are always getting a bad rap. Even the girl sitting alone in her room, stroking the fur of her cat, can wind up being blamed for stuff that disappears from the kitchen downstairs. Especially the one reading a book.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 2020). She was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2020-22, and in 2021 received 1 of 23 Poet Laureate Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. She is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015; she also teaches classes at The Muse Writers’ Center in Norfolk. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.