The Buddha walks a mile

in her shoes at the local community college
for Women’s History Month. With the other men
who signed up for the event, he rummages through boxes
of women’s shoes looking for a pair that will fit.
You want socks with those, bro? asks the office
assistant, as he gingerly slips on a pair of open-toe
leopard print wedge platforms. He wiggles his foot around
a couple of times before he can slip it in; his bunion
always gives him trouble. They’re getting ready to walk
around the quad, past the student dorms and down
to the plaza in the middle of the mall, where a SAFE
counselor will hand out pamphlets with statistics
on how many women on college campuses get raped,
assaulted, victimized in domestic relationships.
The Buddha is disturbed by these stories. He cannot
fathom the hatred and the violence, the displaced
self-loathing that seeks its target in female
bodies, the suffering. He recalls the brothels
along the coast, the sad eyes of women in the windows;
the way, in his own hometown, there are still fathers
who think daughters don’t need to go to school,
households where girls are made to take their sleeping
pallet outside to the porch or behind the kitchen
when they have their period. He hitches his robe
a little higher around his ankles; he adjusts
his stride, determined not to wobble or fall.

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 (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, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.