Philippines, March 7, 1906 From the archives— a photograph taken on the crater rim of Mount Dajo after assault 272 men of the 6th Infantry 211 men of the 4th Cavalry 68 men of the 28th Artillery Battery 51 Sulu Constabulary 110 men of the 19th Infantry and 6 sailors from the gunboat Pampanga In the foreground a child's foot rests on the brow of another A body away could that be his sister Her dark hair still neat in its ponytail A whole village in the ditch— Softness of homespun garments their tattered elegy A pale breast and smudged throat tilts toward the sky like some marble goddess defaced I cannot look at the white men standing above them with their officious hats Their cocked knees and overheated guns Each one's the crooked bow of elbows Each one's the nonchalance of war This is the Bud Dajo massacre where more than 900 Muslim Filipinos were killed defending a settlement where they'd retreated to plant rice and potatoes weave mats from forest fronds 18 Americans lost their lives For every white soldier here a calculus of 50 native bodies
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.