you can hear the struggle to breathe, you can intuit the instance of the body’s anticipation of the viral load, of the impact of what is ultimately coming. If you stop for just a moment to admit I don’t want to die before my time then life and what follows after becomes a ritual of self-care. In unbounded space we were bound and tripped up in entanglements; for this is what passes as history. How long have we held our breath? If you listen you can hear the struggle to breathe, to say the unsayable in bounded space. The woman who was speaking said, find the pocket of flesh between the shoulder and the jaw. Cradle the elbow of the arm as it burrows into that hidden space, looking for the pain of tenderness. I say yes when I want the taste of the bud more than the clay. Even the dead trees of winter want to return to life. They have not yet hoisted their banners but the assault is on its way.
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.