There are people who'll buy a pine bookshelf of knock-down parts that can be reassembled into a coffin; or one of woven cane that a body would fit into, snug as a sourdough loaf proofing in a long banneton with a cover. And proofing is the term that bakers use to describe the extra time of rest given the dough before feeding it to the fire: a few extra hours during which the yeast is allowed to flower, its quiet gasses making little pillowy tunnels under the skin. Science points out instances like these, when it shouldn't be surprising that something considered dead or dying harbors spores still teeming with other kinds of life. On a walk by the river, I saw the nubby fleece of barnacles shawled over rotted pilings. In shimmering webs under azalea bushes, the moth- balled remains of insects, which industrious agriopes catalog as provisions in their ledgers. But I keep tossing in the hours before morning, drenched in sweat and troubled dreams— Plague and pestilence, flood and fire reducing everything to cinders; no time for leavening before the tribes fled to the emptiness of the desert. Then I'm fully awake again— as they say, among the living. I swing my feet over the edge then walk downstairs for a cup of coffee and some bread.
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.