On Graydon

It was the year we found the apartment
a block away from the church— The bits
of communion made of fresh baked bread, wheat
that warmed the famished tongue. Mrs. G,

the landlady, opened the door with a brass key she took
from a chain in her duster pocket. What is your job,
she asked. Door after door, the ritual of opening. Behind one,
a claw-footed tub. Radiators that hummed through thicknesses

of paint. We took the first floor unit on the right.
Across us, a couple who liked to smoke on their balcony
ringed with potted plants. He liked to toss
his cigarette butts over the railing.

At dusk we saw Mrs. G come down
to the sidewalk— She picked up each stub,
past smolder, and aimed. We wondered if they
ever noticed the grimy squares at their feet.

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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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