Before my third birthday, I'm told we moved from the city to the mountains, where my father could breathe easier; where he— who'd stopped smoking and drinking, who only stood five feet tall and whose idea of personal safety was to put a nail clipper in his coat pocket, its tiny ridged file unfolded— had found a job as City Sheriff. I don't think he held the post long though I have a vague memory of a round metal badge with a star in the middle somewhere in a disorderly drawer. Or my memory is making up stories again, patching the holes in an old robe it can't throw away. He was never a brave man, my father: at least not in the way it's understood, especially among men. Not even a swagger or a deep, gruff voice. Not a glass case displaying rifles. He liked to say that the reason we'd likely not be wealthy was because he never took a bribe, not ever. There are some people whose lives are a clean sheet of accounting, and he was one of those— even if at the end, the remaining balance was close to zero.
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.