After ten months in the care home, her voice seems at the same strength again as it used to be: it ruled the household where I was raised— commanding us to rise, to hurry, to come to the dinner table; or when she was angry, to get out of her sight. She's in the sunny common room to share birthday cake and noodles with other white- haired seniors and their attendants. A moment's lapse, into which now she slips more often: thinking this is the house to which her husband took her, his bride more than sixty years ago. He's long gone. That house is gone; also the one where she'd lived more recently, if that's what it can be called—with relatives who kept her locked up in a room and left her nothing to eat; with only one naked bulb for light. When those who were her virtual jailers left, all manner of trash was strewn about, stuffed into moldy kitchen cabinets. Pictures fluttered in albums under the leaking water tank. At least she was spared this last sight of those walls painted a mix of Pepto- Bismol and canary. When someone puts a bouquet of blush-tinged roses in her lap, she clutches them to her chest and won't let them go.
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.