All our stories are flowers with wounds in them.
In one, it is high summer and sometimes I want her
dress to be white and stiff like a sail. Other times
it is the color of a bright marigold, its scent
a mixture of shyness and ambition as she stands
at a restaurant front counter, clanging the cash
register drawer open and close. As for him,
he smells like a library or a phone book left
open in the rain. Or he is the more than 3,000
closely overlapping steps of Machu Picchu:
not even a knife could slide between his teeth
to topple a whole empire. Above her head,
shelves of flutes and cordial glasses. Highballs,
hurricanes; shots, snifters, shooters. When he
bears down is he a storm front darkening, a wall
of clouds with no alternate ending? This moment
is not yet the spill of amber-colored glass, not yet
the nostalgia of a jazz band playing Let me
call you sweetheart on the radio, not yet
counting the months on knuckles and grooves
to the offer she could not afterwards refuse.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for her manuscript Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press in fall 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. 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.