Paeon, physician to the gods and former student of Aesculapius, cured Hades and Ares, wounded in war, with a tincture from peony roots. I remember his story because I've been looking at plant catalogs online, and all the glorious, frilled peony varieties: Bowls of Beauty, First Arrivals, Pink Corals; but I learn it isn't the right season for putting bulbs into the ground. I learn also that an asteroid the size of six football fields did not crash into the earth two weeks ago; but that murder hornets have made their way to these shores. A man out west reported coming upon thousands of honeybees dead in the hives, their heads hacked off their bodies. On the other side of the world, a journalist has just been convicted of a crime, since writing to expose the truth is now apparently considered a crime— In what other universe apart from ours can a law be enforced to render an action taken before its enactment suddenly illegal? The catalog asks me to enter my zip code, and says it will ship bulbs of my choice but not before it is the right time. Meanwhile, what can we do with our dreams of justice and light but bury them in the loamy dark, and wait?
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) was recently appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-2022). She 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 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.