The loquat bends with clustered orbs of yellow
fruit, velvet at the edges. We steal its light
at every opportunity, passing on the other
side of where it's been fenced in. We are mostly
inconsequential to the ones who mark this wealth
so studiously: each tree numbered, even as the fruit
wastes to a dark syrup the gravel path. If heaven
drops a date or any other kind of fruit, the proverb
goes, you open your palm. Or is it your mouth?
If the distance from hand to mouth is the measure
of how near you are to a pot of rice boiling
on the stove, how many scoops will put your hunger
to bed? The women chew betel leaf and areca nut because
they know how the mouth must be slaked then numbed
from time to time; how the red they pulp with their teeth
is small intermission before the curtains pull open again.
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.