"But I seem to you more common than the swans regarding prophecy, which when they sense that it necessary that they die, they sing in the interval before death..." - Socrates, Phaedo In the emergency room a girl vomits all over her shoes. Ahead are corridors lined with cots, a blur of figures in PPEs and the beeping of machines. When they finally let you in this wing no one can come with you. Behind a labyrinth of plastic curtains you lie down on a sheet and cannot tell what's burning. Rain falls on a slate- blue desert. Every country is a bridge arching outward until it collapses in the middle. There's nothing below that you recognize but more than 5 vowels are pushing against your throat. At noon a single fly draws drunken circles on the ceiling; neither does it know what today's count is going to be. The last movie you saw at a theatre was all loud explosions and heroes bursting out of their ill-fitting clothes. A boy whistles; an arrow flies out of his bow toward its mark. Then a woman and child open a single door and disappear into the countryside, a long road white as a discarded bandage or a ribbon of sugar winding through the hills. Someone takes your cold hands and bows; and you get up as if to dance.
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.