My brothers were silenced when they spoke against the ones who came
into our villages, searching for anyone they could blame for the dictator's
latest obsessions. Every cul-de-sac grew tufts of blood-stained grass, asterisks
of coiled wire, moats where we could see the last shape their bodies held,
seizing and exhaling stars. Night after feverish night I push needle and thread
through pieces of linen, cutting holes for sleeves and openings for the neck
and head. I dream about how each will wear these shirts at the next
threshing festival and dance in the square with a girl. But my fingers
tear out the seams, start over again, despairing of getting it right.
Everyone hides in their huts at sundown. Rifles march in the streets.
The moon rises and the sound
of wings fills the window--- my voice
a shroud I throw into the sky.
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.