Pilgrimage

It takes a while
before the eye feels
comfortable
navigating the streets
in a once familiar
and now foreign city—

It wants to take in
landmark after landmark
based on emotional vibrations
set off by certain signs or
whether the sea
can be glimpsed
from a lookout point.

Other than that, each junction
is its own destination: stops
on the way that vendors try
to make bearable with offerings
of hot peanuts or boiled eggs,
or the sweet-charred smell of corn.

A friend buys every single item
lifted to the grimy bus
window— isn’t that the point,
he says. Like church
pilgrimages made in Lent:
when the faithful touch
their lips to every statue
that might warm to life.

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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