“If they can kiss you, they can kill you”

~ after Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

They can tell you that you need
to dismantle what they’ve just

watched you build. One by one,
every last beam and board.

The square of concrete laid
on the earth. And after you’ve

done what they want, they can still
slap another fine on top of that.

History is a long record of the same
words stacked from a common playlist.

Farmers in bean and garlic fields, men
sorting fish in canneries. You’re told

nothing hums in the desert though you’ve
coaxed green to life with your brown hands.

Nothing blinks in the sky, not even the god
of water— so you dig your own wells

even in the throes of death. But first
the heel of a spade is a spoon is a one-

way ticket to some part of the world
you’re allowed to shine with your spit.

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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