She remembers the voices but not who: the stories they told in which the world melted like a disc of tallow over some unseen flame, in which houses on stilts sank into caverns of mangrove root. A girl— who was it they were speaking to, or of? A girl was pushed out of the door and into the world. Sometimes she sat on a horse with mangy hair, sometimes a hooded figure rode with her on a steed with shiny flanks and jingling bells. The roads led out and out, past orchards late with harvest, only dark shriveled knobs left on the topmost branches. Who was it that locked her in a room choked with dry wheat and wires, then emptied a sack into her lap? O patient, long- suffering soul, the voices croon. All night and all day, plinking each grain like a bead on a thread that spooled and spooled as though it could be a river to the stars. They never stop to ask what sound continues to ring in her ears after the sun goes down: a stone, a button, a silver clasp; a cricket's call, a wing-stroke cleaving air.
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.