I don't understand her terrible, insatiable hunger. How she calls through the day and night to be fed, though she has eaten; though the day is a conjugation of meals that will pass through her as if it is her ghost whose mouth closes around the spoon and gums rice or bread into pieces that can be swallowed. She herself is a mouth that goes on and on; is a long, dark hallway connecting to all rooms in the house, but bypassing the kitchen. Perhaps she would like to sleep near the oven, or next to the white hum of a packed refrigerator that's never reduced to light and ice. Perhaps she will place cubes of soup on her tongue until they melt into a facsimile of ocean. But the waters rise and rise until the earth is lost and the boat runs aground on a cliff. There's no book with yellowed sheets of yolk to spread open in her hands, no sugar to keep her quiet. There's no parade of animals turning from mottled egg to blood-clumped feather, quivering lung and streaky heart. Cleaned of skin, quartered bodies suspend from trees as soon as someone can find a pot and start a fire. Is it better to know you've been saved for another hunger? When she asks to be moved to a different part of the garden, she says she wants to live. I don't know what it means when a body breathes like it can't bear to cradle itself a moment longer, when it can't pull the air's burnt edges away from their soft centers or hear the bees make honey in hives; their blooming in rooms of salt water.
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.
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