- from Ancient Greek ἄλευρον, áleuron, “flour” On the countertop, pulverized residue of fields. When I run my fingers across it, I remember the first time a clump of green on the roadside betrayed my trust by cutting a young, clean stroke across my palm. Hold it out, said the woman who stippled the barely visible wound with alcohol on a cotton ball. Hold it out, said a neighborhood fortune-teller years later; she traced the number of lines at the edge of my pinky finger then touched the life-line disappearing into my wrist. I sift and sift according to instructions, until the powder's fine clouds settle. I could write names or curses in this sand. With a little heat and sugar and water, I could coax, like ambition, a slab to rise out of almost nothing. I could dimple the cheek of the loaf or razor it before returning it to the fire. I could slip into its folds a ring or a paper heart and hand- penned note for a mouth to find, for the future to devour.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) is the 2023 Immigrant Writing Series prize winner for Caulbearer: Poems (due out from Black Lawrence Press in 2024), and 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.