I know I was wrong a good many times, even terribly wrong more than a good many times. But I was also sometimes good, sometimes malleable, though those are not the same kinds of things. It is possible I was selfish, that I didn't care, or did not care enough. But I was also self- less, if by that we mean the acute awareness of how in the end we don't even belong to ourselves. I was foolish to think I could make anything bend to my will, though I offered my hand or my cheek or the pulse that beat below my collarbone. I had so much, even enough to give and give away; but also impoverished by the daily effort to keep the brand of ordinary fortune neatly stitched under the collar of my coat. I know I felt too much but also often kept that thing we call the heart bottled in its own liquids, rocking itself to sleep most nights in a country into which I allowed it to be smuggled. It's possible that I know about beauty but more about pain, that the body is constantly endangered when exposed to the modal verb plus the past participle: it could have been, it may have been. This is how I know I've tried to fake the impossible— twirl the cape over the bull's lowered head while trying to keep my wrist steady.
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.