Haven't we all gone through that phase, screaming I hate you to one or both parents, even going so far as encircling their throats with both hands before running out of the room? I was seven when I packed a hanky, a toothbrush and comb into a brown paper bag, frightened and at the same time hurt; enraged at the daily quarrels they staged, not caring who heard. They were completely enamored with each other: my grandmother and the not good enough daughter-in-law she detested, my father an only son caught between two women he was trying to please; my mother the dark spit- fire they were always threatening to put out. Around and around they went, one holding aloft a coffeepot fresh from the stove, one clutching a plate to deflect. I didn't want to have anything more to do with them then. But someone caught up with me at the end of the street, soothed me back home. Years later, sometimes it still feels like I haven't left. I'm still listening to sounds of anguish coming from the other side of the door. Heart pounding, clutching meagre provisions to my chest.
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.