Trailing and heart-shaped, leaves of sweet potato and cassava; moringa with its coin-shaped fronds. Chayote drooping like bulbs under a trellis of telephone-coil vines. Listen, you're not the only one to have moved away, nor are you the only one to have left children behind. Sand-burrs and beggars' ticks, horehound and clover. There are fields you walk through, damp from the last hard rain: and still, there they are, the hem hitch-hikers. You pick them off one by one, knowing you won't get everything. Of course it's true in all other ways. Streaked alstroemeria, stippled moth orchid; purple vanda with roots exposed to the air— You want to know which flowers last the longest, not which ones are first to crumple. You'd pick them before that happened. If you could, you'd press your heart, too, on Lokta or rice paper; or in the middle of a book, close to the spine. How could you ever forget about those you keep in the deepest place of all?
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.