I remember what was there before the city grew into its own new kind of wilderness: hills fenced in, mossy trails blueprinted, trees felled into footnotes like everything else in what we as schoolchildren were told was history. We practiced chainsaw loops and strokes on paper, learned how subtraction shadows sums; intoned prayers while balancing on scabbed knees. When it rained, the water rose up and up around our houses' hems as if a sea were waiting beneath the apron-sized gardens planted by our mothers. If we left, still we'd return as soon as the sun restored a flimsy crust to soaked surfaces. Even the horses knew not to stamp their feet. We learned to tell one sound of water from another: kettle-boil, hand pump installment, frost- crackle upon the cabbage heads. And that old, unslaked thirst rising out of the ground year after year, trying to take it all back.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) 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 was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2020-22, and in 2021 received 1 of 23 Poet Laureate Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. 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.