The doctor looks at the numbers on the sheet, then motions for her to scoot down to the edge of the table. The pad underneath crinkles. One stirrup on each side, steel horse heads whose duty is to open. Flop your legs outward like a frog, she says; this won’t take long. On the tray table: clean instruments, the first one for widening and looking in. A nurse in latex gloves hands her an extractor and hook. Dull tug and a moment’s felt twinge, after which she holds up the curved filament that lodged ten years in the mouth of her womb. By this token she’s made to understand: she’s past the period of accidental danger, past the years of fertile flush. When she stands to take off the paper robe and reclaim her clothes, for a moment it’s as if she can feel that space of newly hollow quiet. Sometimes people who are moving ask at the grocery stores for cardboard boxes that held produce— the ones for bananas marked “bananas,” the ones for oranges perhaps marked “naranja.” They put books or documents or kitchenware in them; a whiff of citrus oil or trace of ammonia lets you know what kinds of things they used to hold.
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.