A saucerful of warmed coconut oil, green eucalyptus leaves steeped in bath water: threshold you have to pass, stepping out of the country of illness and back into the ordinary world. Before that, the looped, confusing paths of fever delirium. Hours during which the parched throat can only utter the sounds of one terrible syllable. Someone needs to crack an egg into a bowl of water to see which way the bloody eye is pointing, which cloud sinks to the bottom to never rise again. Someone needs to be saved from the fishbone cutting unknown names on the walls of their throat. Should you dream of every tooth in your mouth falling like citadels into sand, you must wait for however long it takes the water to clear. You must lie on your bed like a panel of gauze, like a rib of interlaced fern. Let the light which has touched everything including darkness enter without resistance and search you again.
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.