We used to read about it in school
textbooks: land of milk and honey, land
of emerald, close-clipped grass and golf
courses where, on weekends, men practiced
their swing and women huddled together
in their living rooms having Tupperware
parties as the charming family dog---
beagle, terrier, poodle--- sat up and begged
for treats. Meanwhile, grandmother dished up
rice for breakfast topped with boiled squash---
mashed with a fork, she said, it looks like egg.
From reading Nancy Drew novels, I learned
the word roadster; I thought sleuth was a career
for which one had to dress in three-fourth sleeve
cardigans and sheath skirts. Decades later,
in the land of the everlasting 30-year mortgage
and the terrifying health insurance co-pay, I order
breakfast at a diner and wind up with the sunny side-up
double yolk. We pinch every penny and it's only just enough
to keep us afloat, out of the red. How do others do it
as if it were as easy as breathing, as if trees were
leafed with crisp green, as if everything were only money?
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.