To describe a future that isn't coy anymore about showing its face, we need to begin the massive labor of corrections. Once, monks and their acolytes sat at long tables in the scriptorium, day after day extracting bright minerals from plants and insect bodies, tracking silverpoint across vellum plates, dipping the ends of brushes into wells of goldleaf. Now we begin to dismantle elaborate overlays of luster, grand networks of erroneous facts. Magellan, whose name was given to those dark- blue straits across the Tierra del Fuego, did not circumnavigate the earth; the honor must go to his Filipino interpreter Enrique. Columbus did not discover the Americas: hundreds of nations were in place before he crowed about finding rhubarb and cinnamon and a thousand other things of value, before he laid down a trade route for cotton and silver and slaves, as many as they shall order to be shipped and who will be from the idolaters. Peer into mirrors and see villages decimated by fire, valleys from which creatures fled toward forests of glinting knives. From smoke, collect precious blood. We can't stop until our cities gleam with the shine of our stolen names.
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.