In the absence of mail

Who uses those thin
aérogrammes anymore, onion-

skin paper edged with bars
of red and blue? I dream,

fitfully, of that alley bent
like an elbow at the bottom;

the cats that roamed, roaches
flying like miniature bats

through rooms swathed with
mosquito netting. In each one,

all the people left behind:
their whispers, the drone

of prayers repeated bead
by bead. Don’t write

about dreams, I’ve been told.
But what if they’re the only

kinds of letters I can send
and receive these days? The wind

opens its mouth. Its breath,
unsweetened, kills any nostalgia.

Time clicks itself into place,
one scalloped shell at a time.

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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