Decades pass as if in the blink of an eye:
remember the day we found the coffee table
in the thrift shop, among boxes of broken tile?
We thought we'd be here only for so long,
putting up with one bad rental then another---
Decades passed as if in the blink of an eye.
In a dog-eared copy of Heraclitus I keep going back
to that passage about stepping into the same river twice. But
in the thrift shop you find useful things in boxes of broken tile.
That's how immigrants slowly build the landscapes of a life--
desk, lamp, chair: new bits mixed with pieces others cast
away. Then decades pass as if in the blink of an eye.
Remember the filthy basement with rundown laundry machines,
the drafty windows we taped with plastic in the winter? Odds
and ends in the thrift shop, among boxes of broken tile.
Every effort costs at least twice more when you
have lives and loves in more than one place on
the earth. How did decades pass so quickly? Stories
in the thrift shop, among boxes of broken tile.
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.