Why is it so hard to empty oneself
of thoughts and things; to quiet
the foot that wants to tap all
throughout each TV commercial
or slow the hand that wants to dip
into the bowl until every single bit
of popcorn is gone? A girl in class
fingers the hem of her shirt, starting
from the front and going all around
to the back. At the grocery checkout
the man ahead in the line has lots
of beer and wine in his cart:
Hurricane supplies, he grins.
Which is sort of the same as your
pack of dumplings, can of wasabi
peas, boxes of Pocky. You remember
the last time this kind of thing
happened: they issued the evacuation
order, with no time to pack all but
a bag each. So much for your intention
to donate, downsize; then scan all
important documents. You put chairs
up on the dining table. You unplugged
appliances and touched your books.
You looked around, wondering what
would still be there on your return.
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.