In August, after your annual mammogram, the doctor asks you to return for a core needle biopsy; and you lie in the surgery three days later, arm upraised, numbed from the armpit all the way down your right side. The doctor and his aide make light banter while waiting for more lidocaine to take; then you feel a small, dull punch, a formless ache; a tug, before they apply a gauze square and a piece of bandage. Straight- forward, unremarkable. That is, jabbing into the lumpy oatmeal bowl of your breast is so much quicker a procedure, more pain- less than if you turned a corner and ran accidentally into a construction worker carrying an armful of metal pipes— you'd bruise for days, and know exactly why. When you get the call a few days later, the doctor says benign inconclusive: meaning there's something sitting there like a pellet of hardened oats, a clump of brown sugar. It's not doing anything, but not going anywhere either. They don't know why; meaning the body, that book of mysteries and secrets, wins again.
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.
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