At the dim sum restaurant, the woman who recently arrived from China with her nine year old son to join the man she married, explains that in her province the women adore crackling pork and chicken skin. She says the fat underneath— unctuous, soft like jelly— is wonderful for the skin. Collagen, says the doctor at our table. Or at least that is what I think he says, though he shakes his head when the server offers a steamer basket of spicy chicken feet. Her skin is smooth and clear, rosy like alabaster. She’s wearing hardly any makeup, but her cheeks are flushed pink as though she has just come in from the cold. Now they are are talking about wedding rings, about how, at Christmas, her husband took her and the boy to visit his parents in Pennsylvania. How the snow, so high and light, was such a wonder to them both they played in it all day. And the ring! They only realized later that her wedding ring had slipped off her finger in the snow. I listen to the story and imagine the spangled grains closing around the gold band with its tiny diamond, every surface perfect and faceted with light. They bought a metal detector to help them search, until they gave it up for good. But weeks later, when the snow melted, her father-in-law found it and sent it back to them in the mail! With his palms face down, her son mimes the way they moved the metal detector over the snow-covered yard. Then he opens the new year envelope he has been given, unfolds a crisp five dollar bill and asks his stepdad if he is right, if that is the Lincoln Memorial on the back. The servers put two teapots on the table; the one with the chopstick sticking out of the spout is the flower tea.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) was recently appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-2022). She 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 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.