"...the newly dead must pass through
a halfway house run by angels. In this
place of transit, the migrants must
choose one event from their lives
that the angels will make into a movie,
starring the migrants themselves.
Heaven is this short film, played
on an endless loop."
~ Viet Thanh Nguyen
No one leaving for the airport at dawn
as if surreptitiously, while the child
is sleeping. Instead, they walk
hand in hand, following a path
dusted by moths. No one leveling
the mountains or cutting down
all the trees. Nothing
that needs to be paid by
installment, or with gold
extracted from someone's mouth.
No one hiding under the house until
the creditors go away.
No one having to endlessly correct
grammar, our names, our being
here. A window not taped
with plastic in winter.
No disappearing into the surf, no
walking barefoot into the snow.
No pills in vials, no asking
when anything will end.
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.