O with what effort everyone pushes with all they have toward the unseen— Before the plane taxies for takeoff, the girl in 5A touching her forehead to her prayer book, adjusting her veil. The man muttering curses under his breath, the child biting back his tears. Two rows back, the girl with a long-stemmed rose, the girl with a tattoo in Edwardian script. That girl swapping her boots with five-inch heels for platforms with a vampy toe. But O, the world’s oblivious to our plans. Beyond the gently bucking seats, beyond the porthole-sized windows: lakes of clouds with no visible bodies swimming in them. Render: which can mean some action to make offering, or one of a few procedures a skillful hand employs to bring fat to the surface. Mother, my thoughts turn to you like a dog paddling furiously through floodwaters. There in the mountains you grow older by the day, but appear ageless in my dreams.
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.