“Greetings from my next life in which I am a professional Pokémon player.” - Matthew Salesses, 10 July 2020, Twitter @salesses Do you ever wonder about the boy who fell into the gorilla pit at the Brookfield Zoo in 1996, and was picked up and cradled by the female gorilla Binti Jua? The unnamed boy spent four days in the hospital with injuries to his face and head, but none of the newspaper articles suggest that he didn't survive. He must be in his 20s now: past the legal age to drink, to vote for the first time. Did he spend most afternoons of his youth at the library, reading through the stacks but avoiding the shelves of National Geographic and Field & Stream? Does he have an adventurous side, one that admires the Turkish paraglider who rigged a whole living room set— red upholstered couch, side table with lamp, TV stand— so he could sail over the sea at Ölüdeniz while clicking the remote and eating a bag of chips? Some of us take a wrong turn in an unfamiliar town or get into some stupid scrape like shoplifting mascara at the drugstore. Some of us, trying to outrun a red light, won't see the semi coming. Meanwhile in another country, children just walking home from school get caught in the violent crossfire in the war on drugs— which proves that the real animals are never the ones in a cage. In such cases, when the identity of the killer is unknown, the family puts a yellow chick and some grain on the coffin's glass so it might peck at the conscience of the guilty one. I want them to shed copious tears on the casket, to make the spirit return soon for vengeance.
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.