A different world, we sigh; was it a different world
back then when we could walk to school,
children unescorted in their going or coming, never
doubtful of our ability to return? Past alleys,
entrances to dingy buildings where workers
folded chairs and vendors unpacked their wares: fool’s
gold, common cotton, cabbages, maps to Yamashita’s treasure
hidden in the hills— In summer heat and through
infinity of monsoon seasons, this was the only world.
Jump rope and jack stones, the melted wax we rolled,
keeping the droppings from candles lit at altar and tomb.
Light years away, it seems easy to slide the filmstrip of
memory along the viewfinder: bike lanes in the park,
names of native flowers painted on signs of streets.
Only the unhurt could truly romanticize it all.
Poor travelers adrift on a perilous shore,
quartered in homes not ever our own—
Remember for what new currency we exchanged the
secret fire we left with, burned?
There’s nothing that could take its place.
Unmoored from our beginnings, we
voyage forward still:
wistful postulants,
exiles from that faded postcard paradise that
years have archived in dusty envelopes we
zipper open and shut.


In response to Via Negativa: Messenger.

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Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) 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 (forthcoming, 2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by 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. 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, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

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