"A single swarm can contain up to 150 million
locusts per square kilometer of farmland." - Associated Press
They are not dark tears from a pharaoh's eyes,
nor a belt of bees unloosed from a titan's
distant tower. Their flight path is not
a channel clogged with vessels of trade
or commerce. They are together
a dark body on whose surface is a mouth
made of very fine short hairs. They sense
the quality of air and can hover
for days and days in the wind.
They are said to be patient
and can withstand extended periods
of deprivation. Along the edges of the sky
they find small openings in which
they can spiral without cease. How many
creatures can hear the sounds of the world
and of frightened cows through the ear
in their abdomen, or feel the color green?
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for her manuscript Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press in fall 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. 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.