All the finishing by hand

Kissing, sex: pah! mother said to me one Saturday morning. You have to marvel at the speed of that mental leap. I had just told her I was going out that afternoon, to the movies, with this guy. I was a college sophomore but had just that year discovered: uniformly curved potato chips stacked in slender cylinders; height-changing platform sandals; and: jeans, how you could walk into a department store and pick them off a rack, try them on for size, often not even need to have anything altered or hemmed. All my life until then, she’d sewn all my clothes on the old Singer sewing machine with a treadle. All the finishing by hand— zippers, buttonholes, snaps, hook and eye closures. When I was ten and started menstruating, unsure of how to discuss what was happening to me, she went and got a book: On Becoming a Woman. There was a young brunette smiling on the cover, her lips the same shade as her cardigan and the apple out of which she was getting ready to take a bite. In the background, a bevy of whispering girls in poodle skirts, clutching schoolbooks. Inside, an illustrated flyleaf: the same girls in bridal wear on a cottage path, massive clots of flowers. Even then, I knew the underlying message: everything ripe for plucking, until beauty burns out and fragrance turns to rot.


In response to Via Negativa: Battlefield.

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 (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, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

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