She was sixteen- year-old braids to the other's pencil skirts, the sweet pale pink of a new tube of lipstick. She was the wish only to get out of the dusty farm and live for the first time in the city. She was the hand that hemmed and edged buttonholes on clothes cut and pieced, seamed on a sewing machine they'd bought together. She was a black lace veil worn over the head and touching the shoulders, coming and going from the church on the corner. She was the hand on the ladle, the flip of wrists turning and smoothing the dough. And soon, after her own flesh was plucked from the bowl to swell in its heat, she was fish-scale and years of oil spatter, while the other tucked a new Pilot pen into a leather-bound folio. Once she must have leaned on the cool back steps, a hand dreaming in the suds of the laundry basin, green- tendriled vines coiling through slats of the fence. What did one or the other do to deserve her fortune, what did one or the other pledge to preserve her fate? One has gone ahead of the other, while the other cradles their body of dreams that's shrunk to the size of a wing still beating under a house dress loose as a tent on her bones.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) is the 2023 Immigrant Writing Series prize winner for Caulbearer: Poems (due out from Black Lawrence Press in 2024), and 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.