The women carry bottles and pails,
earthen jugs that swing from belts
around their hips. They pump water up
from the rusted well, its copper taste
beating against stone then coating
the insides of their mouths.
This is the taste of wealth, they tell
their children: green as algae, rich
with minerals and the sediment of life
after life long before you. Be thankful.
When the taps gape with foul rumors
of hot air, you learn to pray
for rain. Every ear can cup
part of the ocean. Snails wash
the walls of their spiraled houses;
the reeds are efficient at up and down,
in and out. And we, running around
with upturned mouths and faces. Take
a spoonful of broth laced with
mushroom spores, spiked with one sinew
clinging to an oily bone. Close your eyes.
The fronds in your chest rattle from
long dryness then exhale as slowly
as curtains threaded with mist.
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.