"Only mystery allows us to live..." ~ Lorca
I have never dreamed of deer, though once
in the mountains, emerging from the house
we rented for the night, I saw a doe
and her fawn chewing on hibiscus leaves.
The wonder was that they didn't seem
skittish at all. Perhaps because the town
was overrun with tourists, the peculiar
imprint of human smells had become familiar
to them: human with backpack, human
fresh from having a traditional tattoo
tapped on an arm, human covered with mud
from spelunking. The mother let me come
closer, let me offer a handful of sweet
grass. There are people who would immediately
seize upon this and turn it into an omen.
Like: rune for impending motherhood; or
you will be the last matriarch of your
line. When the doe and her fawn edged
back into the woods, I walked down the trail
past the orange groves in search of breakfast.
For a second, I couldn't remember how old
I was, or why it should matter. A deep
nostalgia rose up in me at the sight of fog
blanketing the valley. But then I arrived
at a cafeteria selling coffee and smoked
venison, roasted yam, red mountain rice.
Why was I sad just a moment before? How
was I now only ravenous, even cheerful?
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.