I may have been born
with my hair in an old
lady bun, my hands buried
deep in the pockets
of a skirt too long for me;
with my feet in socks
wrapped and layered
to cover the peeling scabs.
I may have been born with
a stray tooth sown
in the bed of my gum,
a penchant for blinking
furiously until tears came.
The walls of my father’s
house were full of women’s
secrets: with whispering
above piles of laundry,
and clouds of dirty blood
dissolving in the water.
Someone shook
condensation out
from inside the rice
pot’s lid, and a few
drops touched my cheek.
I came to know how salt
cradles the body in warm
waters at birth, and
how we carry its taste
with us into our afterlife.

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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