Wash

Coming out on the porch, early mornings high
in the hills. Frost on breath curling like

a sentence made visible even before speech.
After breakfast of eggs and bread, coffee

and milk, mountains of wash to do in a basin
that looked like a giant pie tin. Always the women

and girls: red-knuckled, pouring a scoop of white
soap powder, beating the water into froth. Scrubbing

away food stains, grime, the monthly blood; the crushed
and faded yellow flowers of sex. Pinned on the line,

exposed to the wind, stiffened shapes— clumsy tracery
lifted from bodies. What I loved was the smell of sun

sealed into the fiber so later, pressed under a steam
iron, they gave off that grassy warmth kept in reserve:

the truth of the world this endless cycle of being bleached
and wrung, of sloughing off and putting on our skins again.

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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