Acres of fire, forests disassembling.
A girl has just crossed the ocean
in a ship powered by solar panels
and hydro generators. Every Friday
when she conducts her Liebestraüme,
you can hear the cries of whales
and glaciers floating like placards
above the crowd; she is their standard-
bearer. Bankers peer from glass
towers, pretending they are merely
checking if food trucks have arrived
at the lobby. They click teaspoons
against cups secretaries bring
into the room. Light glances off
hundreds of panes of glass,
as well as off external elevators;
but can you see this brittle world
whorled in a snail's carapace?
I don't know how many varietals
of coffee there are in the Americas,
if we can still use words like
capsicum and salt and ferrous oxide.
Wading birds still come to the edge
of the river, though I can't
remember when it last rained.
In winter, ghosts of foxes streak
across the meadow: their pelts thin,
their voices rubbed like kindling.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) is the 2023 Immigrant Writing Series prize winner for Caulbearer: Poems (due out from Black Lawrence Press in 2024), and Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 2020). She was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2020-22, and in 2021 received 1 of 23 Poet Laureate Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. 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.