~ after "Buscando Luciérnagas Una Noche de Enero,"
("Looking for Fireflies on a January Night"),
Armando Valero (oil on canvas)
It's light we crave at all costs,
the kind that flickers in the belly
under a fringe of fern without need
for battery-powered torches. Its beams
don't register well in a landscape
of surveillance, in a climate of constant
sweep and search. Not even the jewel
on your wife's earlobe, not even the gold
cufflink at your wrist knows how to call it
out of hiding. Sunrise is soft but not
its friend. Its messengers emerge
only when the sun disappears behind that
curtain at the edge of the sea. Watching
them, watching for them, instinctively we hold
our hands below our hearts, guarding the space
where our own fire must kindle and burn.
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.