Every morning the woman bathes
in the river encircling the garden.
She tries to remember the spot where
she'd fallen from heaven, where she’d
folded her wings and carefully hidden them
from the damp and heat of this uncertain
place. She supposes that what they call
body in this world is a way to give
the untethered a home, a sheath
like that worn by jellyfish pulsing
across the channel, their insides
a generous peep show for which
you don’t have to pay the price
of a ticket. Come one, come all.
What you see is what you get.
Woman with mermaid tail, woman
with bearded arms and graceful legs.
The fruitful have daughters swinging
in bowers under the trees, hair
honeyed sunrise, cheeks red with
promise. In the fields, farmer’s
daughters weave a garland of snails
between the horns of a water buffalo.
Daily they plead with the gods to look
the other way, to take no more
interest in them than a tadpole
writing its small hieroglyphic
in shallow water. This is how it is
when your life feels sometimes of no
larger consequence than a window.
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.