Every bent figure at the train station,
every elderly woman pushing a grocery
cart; every gray-haired man sitting
on a porch with his newspaper: each
reminds us of the people in our lives
who will one day, sooner or later, pass
from this life. My husband and his siblings
lost first their father and then their mother:
two years apart, not even recovered from
the first grief, and they're going through
the same rituals. It only feels the same,
but everything is new again. And no one and
nothing is forgotten. Also, we're being moved
closer to the front of the line. Months
or years of bracing for the moment, and then
it's there, with or without fanfare. But I
envy them a little their closeness
and faith: how each made of their parents'
last moments a composition of the tenderest
affections, while I cannot say if or how I
could answer the call of the dead, out of
an estranged continent, when it comes.
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.