Windows ask, what is a door? And nights ask, what are days? The coat rack wants to know what branched fingers are for. Farms and abattoirs close down and milk floods the ditches. Shingles bang on the roof as if they want to be vultures or crows. Today the foot wants to press itself against the tongues of boots. It's not so pretend that you live in a town where sentries stand guard, armed with long nasal swabs and plastic shields. They go from house to house, knocking on doors, waving fever guns. Inside, mothers go about sorting chaff from grain, paper from polyester. They know how to quiet the fowl before unsheathing the blade. The hours are a long highway doused in petrichor. The wilderness is not just a story you once read about, that a grand railway was built for. You can't remember all the turns you had to take and what it cost to get into that country called America. By then the waters are poisoned. You peel even the skin off grapes.
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.