Silene stenophylla It took 32,000 years for you to thaw from the ice shelves at Duvanny Yar, for you to flower again out of the fruit and its seed. Narrow-leaved campion, awake now from your long fossil sleep, at what point did you give up counting the bars that built up layer by layer in the cell that housed you? Each of your white petals is clear-edged, as if a stencil lifted up in reverse, washed with the simple color of certain stone houses in villages by the sea. The ice couldn't kill you, nor the more terrifying frost of darkness. I don't know how long I could hold myself still, or quiet the boil in my cells; if I could outlive the solitude that I know can protect one from the onslaughts of weather and every kind of unknowing. Even in sleep, my body gives itself away with its little spasms, its miasma of dreams. I close my eyes in one country, then row in the blurry current toward the island shape of another. It's always there, half-hidden in the jambolan- tinted distance, though the world rocks like a cradle on the back of a tortoise, its delicate roots clawing the air. *** Binhi (Tagalog/Filipino) - seed
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.