She says she has recurrent dreams of a hot fire licking at her hands and feet, drawing her into its center. She says she sees her sister there, and her husband, motioning for her to cross over to the other side. She is by turns ecstatic and furious. She moans and cries, then bellows like a bull provoked for the matador. She likes the blazing red cape, the suit of lights edged with gold; but not so much the lances. For all these visitations, her body has not given up the ghost. What is it they mean when they say this, anyway? Whose ghost lives in her, spurring the bouts of energy, the hunger for fruit, for bread, roast turkey; the mean anger, the need for control? Whatever it is, when she’s in pain she prays for it to be swift— like a wisp of smoke from a snuffed candle, like a tug in both directions so the gold chain breaks.
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.