"The problem with life is that everyone who dies really dies." ~ Kathleen Graber Every now and then you think you know the answer. But then some version of that quiz resurfaces: If you're going to be marooned on an island, what one book would you want to have with you? If you could keep only one of your senses before the world ended, which would it be? The problem with these zero-sum games is that most always want more than one thing. Or you take the side of the mother who can't bear to have her baby sliced in half in front of the king. Never ask about a favorite book or poet; or which of my children I like best or is the prettiest. In The Two Fridas, Frida Kahlo has painted both hearts whole, laid across the bodice— as if the artist ripped them out of each woman's breast. And each woman is different yet the same. The one on the left, with a pair of surgical scissors suturing a vein that drips on the skirt of her white wedding gown, is the rejected one. On the right, hand on her lap holding a miniature of the beloved, is the self that was loved. Yet they clasp hands and sit serenely on the same bench, not minding a sky bruised and boiling with clouds behind them. The same vein coils up the forearm of the loved one and over a chasm of shoulders to the abandoned other: red as embroidery floss, the kind one could use for mending socks or cross- stitching rows of flowers on a hem.
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.