Into each row I lay: melting snow pea, baby grapes, summer squash, eggplant. Ahead, weeks of dazzling heat; then rain. No roosters crow at dawn in this part of the world where finally we set down if not roots, then a household of belongings unloaded from a truck. There are no fences behind which tethered dogs growl when I pass; or steps carved into the side of a rocky hill. I don't walk to the corner store at first light, lured by the idea of bread in makeshift ovens. Once, I believed there would be time yet to make our way to those places in the world we only dreamed about: rivers winding through the underground, fireflies strung like party lights against the ceiling. Trails that lead up and up into mountains so high our legs might start to feel unconnected to our bodies; trees crowning past the ribs of their green umbrella arms. Now these little runners of hope, close to the ground: in a few weeks, small heart-shaped leaves and curling tendrils. Memory, that box of rusted tools I keep: testing how sharp the blade, how deep into the soil the weed wrench's jaw will go.
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.