Long ago in that other country you used to keep birds of jeweled colors— Parrot-green, yellow; vermillion streaked across their faces, they were the first bright gashes on the day. You could've had a cat or a dog, but under the terms of lease, those always cost extra. The same was true of vacations: no family trips to see a geyser or grand waterfall, no holiday in quaint Bavarian towns along the Rhine. Perhaps it's just as well you had no pets, did not indulge expensive perks. Perhaps intuitively, you felt that you should wait until such a time arrived to make you feel you might relax a little, take care of more than just "the necessary," before giving in at last to the desire to see a larger world and take in its varied pleasures. But the years have a tendency to make you believe the reel keeps going indefinitely; one season's black-and-whites become the next one's Polaroids; then all turn uniformly grainy. The maples you planted, flanking the driveway, are tall and leafy; but the persimmon you set in backyard soil refused to thrive. Still, chalking up items in the ledger, perhaps each side in general balances out the other. Today, on texted video, your toddler grandson sounds out letters one by one, putting them all together: the s, t, a then r that form the word star.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) 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 was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2020-22, and in 2021 received 1 of 23 Poet Laureate Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. 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.