I will never again wake up in the house where I grew up; or look at islands of mold stippling maps across the ceiling. Before it was sold to the owners of all souls, we tried valiantly to maintain it. The oils from our feet lovingly polished the floor and the dining room’s mismatched tiles of marble. Two cracked urns wreathed with cloisonné dragons left their footprints on the porch. What it lacked in insulation, we used to make up for by rubbing our bodies together. What fires we made, under three wool blankets during the coldest nights of the year! For safety, each window had a pair of metal hooks— one at the top and one at the bottom; and the doors were barred from the inside at night. This was necessary for the piano to feel able to emerge from under its hand-sewn cover of mustard yellow flannel. Then we could gather around it and begin undoing the stays wound around our throats. When we cried, clouds gathered in the room waiting to absorb the sorrow. Then they rippled through the corridors before slipping through the grilles. We watched them float higher and higher. We waved our hands in the way we do when someone we are fond of is going away.
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.