"...I just go forward like water, flowing
around obstacles and second thoughts..."
~ Tony Hoagland, "Distant Regard"
Isn't it true though, how everything in life
is a terrible cliché, how we only think
everything that happens to us is original,
that no one has ever felt like us
the same pangs of joy or sorrow or sex,
the calculus of pain, erosions of jealousy.
And you too must learn to live inside
that room called solitude, where furniture
is sparse and there's no TV, no distractions;
where you'll work with the mind's reluctance
to sit still in one place until it stops
fighting the urge to rummage through drawers,
flip switches, wipe all surfaces with disinfectant.
Then one day it just happens: that knot
in the center of your gut doesn't feel so tight
anymore; you look at the silver growth
scattering through your wife's hair, the fine
stippling of age spots across your cheeks,
the dwindling figures in your pocketbook. You hold
them up against the impending future or
the coming end of the world. Perhaps it doesn't
seem so terrible either way: to wind the key
around to the beginning again, or to watch as the fire,
like a good pet, eats the scraps you feed it.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) was recently appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-2022). She is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 2020). She 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 former US Poet Laureate 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; she also teaches classes at The Muse Writers’ Center in Norfolk. 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.