In these lengthening days it's easy to feel that we are past any danger. The idea of crowded hospital beds and makeshift isolation tents inside stadiums sounds like a bad fairy tale, until the angel of sickness walks across your threshold and sets down his luggage. When he hangs up a towel, sets a worn toothbrush on the sink. you know he's there to stay a little while longer. Even so, he is not the enemy. Without any special malice, he is only doing what's in his nature. But the enemy took ships across the water and returned with shackled bodies loaded in the hold. The enemy cracked a whip across the fields where our people bent over beds of garlic and strawberries. The enemy is a bullet that will take out your eye or stop your heart even when you've knelt on the ground as instructed. The enemy is a god unto himself. It shows no mercy but fears every dusky body running and playing in sunlight, numbers of them walking now with a single purpose across the land.
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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