A suitcase of sounds unzippered in the street. Beneath a balcony window, the yowling karaoke of cats. Cacophony of human voices mingled with rooster crow. Don’t go, implores the neighbor’s mistress. Eggplant sheen, taut skins, the buzzing of mosquitoes. Fried food skewered on sticks dripping with sauce and grease. Gold tooth smiling from a hag’s otherwise toothless mouth. Hibiscus heads float down dark sewer streams. Index fingers dyed blue at the fingernail base, after voting. Jalousie an old fashioned word for blinds; imagine the jealous wife behind them, spying. Keep your scandals to yourselves. Loiter in the alleyway when no one’s looking. Make poultices from mashes of oil and fruit. Nobody’s business is everyone’s business. Only a fool sweeps out his stoop at sundown. Pleasure is a mouthful of pop rocks; that’s why new restaurants have sprung up around call centers. Quail eggs in broth, wood-ear mushroom; foamed essences; dumplings the size of your head. Ride a motorbike around the periphery of peeling billboards— Short course in uneven development. Text me when you’re back. U have my number, my Snapchat, my Signal, my Viber, my Vibe. Venmo me my allotment. When my shift’s over let’s head for the sea. XXX. Yours for now, Z.
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.