Touch of moth-wing, its sudden
appearance in a water glass;
a dove materializing on a soot-
stained balcony in the mauve hours.
Every day you try to remember
to pay attention so you might sense
that tremor in the air it's said
prefigures the passing of someone
you love into the afterworld: a face
that slipped last night into your dream,
a version from youth but wearing the same
clothes in which you saw them last. Almost
near enough to catch the scent of a favorite
cologne, almost near enough to touch the plastic-
made-to-look-like-shell button on a cuff, adjust
a collar folded the wrong way. Which is all
of us: holding a styrofoam cup of coffee
and bagel in a paper bag, standing in a corridor
checking watches or phones, schedules
for the train; passing through the revolving
doorway or stepping onto the platform,
not pushing, saying You first or After you.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) 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 was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2020-22, and in 2021 received 1 of 23 Poet Laureate Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. 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.