Distance

is what you learn about stars:
how they burn themselves out,
long before you ever get
the messages they’re sending
through light. One day you lift

your head, and it is many years
later: twenty, thirty. You feel so far
away from where you started,
can barely retrace the exact
steps it took to get here. If so
many things have changed, how

come others continue to expect
the opposite? You look at pictures
of yourself from another time: girl
in blue pleated skirt and white
blouse, girl with a white veil.
There are people you haven’t

spoken to in ages, still going to
the same corner bakery for bread
rolls in the morning, still
bickering over who gets the biggest
share of anything. All that too,
you want to put time and space

between. There was a time you thought
you might be able to change old wood
for new, chart a different course
for others. A mistake: each thing
must spend itself until all its light
is gone, even if it doesn’t know it.

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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