Dear friend, I wake in the night

wondering about the life we’ve forgotten—
how we could get up each day and walk
to work or take our children to school
even before dark had lifted, knowing
no fear other than from strays that slunk
in the alleys, occasionally baring their fangs.
And the blackbirds that roosted in the trees
and power lines did not yet look
like a congregation of undertakers,
waiting for our bodies to fall in order
to take them away. Some say that to look
at the past is to cultivate a purposeless
nostalgia. Some say it was foolish of us
to believe we could leave the side doors
unlocked, the lamp shining, for the one
with the late night shift; while we climbed
the stairs and went to bed. Outside, on the curb
near pools formed by rainwater, geese hunker down
amid the green fern. In a neighborhood near the beach,
we heard hundreds of them were carted away in trucks
to be euthanized, because they populated the roads
and vehicles could not pass. This is what I mean
when I ask about where we were before this
moment. Maybe only twice in the last decade
have I experienced falling short of what I owed
at the till, and having the cashier fish out a few
coins from the tip jar to make up the difference.

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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