~ for Ross Gay Did you hear about the tractor trailer driver who quit his job, maxxed out all his credit cards and took his family on a long cross-country trip a week before the world was predicted to end? He said The rapture would have been a relief: meaning, when the magic moment came, all believers would just be spirited away in a flash of blinding light to the afterlife. Credit collectors would only hear a strange, electric absence at the other end of the line. No need to worry about looking for a lawyer, or how after coming back from bankruptcy court, your wages are garnished. This has nothing to do with parsley, and everything to do with how long it will take, depending on what chapter bankruptcy you have, to wipe out your debts so you can rebuild your credit— As if the hand punishing you for being profligate is also the same hand holding out the promise of a new debt trap. Your friends will be sympathetic but won't ask you out to restaurants or concerts again. Whatever's left in your pay- check will be just enough for food and rent, necessities. You spend sleepless nights worrying, afraid there'll never be a happy ending. What is the value of your assets, and what are assets anyway? Spring follows winter, and it's summer again then fall. Your kind neighbor who's worked at the corner drugstore for the last 20 years says don't worry, it's only money; says he comes from a country where some of his patients were too poor to afford the doctor's fee. They'd bring him fish or newly harvested rice, the silver bodies lined up in baskets like bullion, the tiny pearls impossible to count in their burlap sack. He listened with his stethoscope, looked into their ears; palpated stomachs, asked them to take a deep breath. To this day they send cards at Christmas, with a picture of the baby he'd delivered breech: now in high school, now walking across a stage to receive her college diploma, now a teacher with children of her own.
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.