- "Japan's theme parks have banned screaming because screaming spreads coronavirus. 'Please scream inside your heart.'" Each day I waver between toast or no toast, rice or a careful salad, shower or a quick sponge bath. The animal of my various longings is the same shy creature unsure of how to speak its love language so it might be understood. Some days are me in the middle of drying my hair; then something trips and I have to go downstairs to open the circuit breaker box. A colleague told me her aunt went in for minor surgery which was successful, but died after catching the coronavirus while in the hospital— which makes me even more fearful of ever seeing again the people I love who live on the other side of the world. When I can't sleep I think sometimes of starting to bundle up things I would like my children to have when I die: handwoven textiles brought back from the last trip I made to my hometown, woven baskets with no real use except to remind me of the smoky fragrance of reeds pulled tight and close by hands sure at what they do. Instead of gold or diamonds, I have a few beads threaded with horsehair, dangling from thin wafers of mother-of-pearl: for I have always been the fool carrying only a burlap sack into the world, believing that shadows will fall away from a jaunty step, convinced the snarling dog won't snap its chains at the first chance and lunge at my neck. Zero is the number on its jersey—meaning everything to gain, or everything to lose. But isn't that the same thing? Whether you scream into the wind in the middle of the park or in the depths of your secret labyrinth, someone else is driving the chariot or turning the wheel. Lovers kiss in delirium at the edge of a cliff. The wanderer keeps walking toward the mountain; orange flames in his lantern flicker like tongues desperate to break free of a mouth.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for her manuscript Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press in fall 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. 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.