- after "The Silence," Odilon Redon This silence is a devotion we're trying to learn, but with great difficulty. Thin as milk poured into the morning coffee; soft as the hidden heart, like bread, which hasn't yet hardened its crust. Such silence doesn't mean we're done carrying the cargo of sorrow or misfortune; or that these eyes have been absolved of any more tears. Fortune doesn't smile behind its mask, dark as the bottom of your oldest rice pot. Nor does it gleam like a finger-width's band of silver, or the moon on a cold night. This silence is only itself, undecanted. We pour it out into little cups and drink it every day, trying to do so without resisting. It doesn't take much to break it. Mere passing thoughts are enough to turn it over like an hourglass: tip its particles into tumbling, swing the clock's hands around.
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.