In a small town there’s bound to be lots of one-way streets. If you’re not on foot, you wind up doubling the distance to where you want to go. C. tells me there’s a place farther down Main that specializes in only two things, donuts and grass-fed beef burgers. L. says she drives to Charlottesville or Roanoke for other kinds of shopping. I’m surrounded by four churches but I’ve yet to hear the sounds of bells, their tongues lapping up the silence that smells today of grass and weak sunlight. I pass a storefront window twice a day, where a life-size model of an eyeless horse stands half-decoupaged with squares of brown and grey. Maybe I should walk on the other side to keep from always having to look at his sombre face, suspended in shadow beside a piece of tarp. I did see another horse on Sunday, pulling tourists in an old-fashioned carriage away from the cemetery; it had a tiny bell attached to its harness. If it made a sound, it was softer than rain.
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.