In those days we thought nothing of walking to the slaughterhouse and the row of little cantinas with their oilcloth-covered tables then waiting for a meal of rice and meat sizzled on a grill while listening to the music that animals make when they are dying. We thought nothing of being the animals ourselves, flayed open on the spit of the everyday and still joking, still laughing, still grim and hungry or needing a smoke or a beer, our histories decorated by rose bushes and parks and man-made lakes, hand-painted signs with the names of people who insisted on wearing their boiled wool suits and top hats in this tropical country. We thought nothing then of the future and its crumbling remains, the scars on mountainsides that marked the veins out of which they drew copper and silver and gold. Our gums are the dusty color of agate and carnelian, our teeth stained with the beautiful darkness of the soil. We think all the time about the past; which is to say, now we remember the orchards we walked through without registering the conversation of ferns, the prophesying of birds of paradise.
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.