Who hasn’t asked to be granted reprieve, mouthed a plea not to be fossiled in despair? More time and space, please: and clear vistas, less elegy. Let our feet dance again, let us walk without limping, let us see and be seen; let the men come back from the edge of the tracks where they wished to throw their bodies at that machine rumbling closer out of the dark. Let the women repeat the owl’s whistle without lining it with warnings. Let the guards dismantle fences and those miles and miles of concertina wire. I ask the fields not to be so quiet, to make their poppy flares wilder and redder until even wandering ghosts are tempted to stop and eat or make bouquets. I want them to get up hours later washed in the perfume of wildflowers, no longer burdened with what it was that turned them away, turned them loose or out of doors, unhomed. I want the soldiers to walk through the desert bringing water, blankets, food; for the coyote to be nothing more than a small prairie wolf with broad ears, scraping at cypress bark with delicate paws.
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.