(2020) Let's return to that question you've asked as if you were asking again for the first time: the one about the paradox in which you think returning to the supposed origin of an event could alter or avert the accident— For instance, stop the encounter between the archduke and his wife and the man who shot them at point-blank range; return all the bats and pangolins chafing in their cages at the seafood market to the wild. If you had stayed in your old life instead of chasing the dream of finding a way to break the cycle of one way streets and dead ends, would your children be happier than they are now? But if you could travel back in time faster than the speed at which you wake and sleep, sleep and wake to the dailiness of the present, you'd meet yourself without recognition, so that whatever has happened will happen anyway. Even if you're not the one the Terminator winds up helping, the future already exists. Sometimes—like when you lose yourself in the rapture produced by music or the stillness after sex, or coming to the satisfying finish of a poem or novel, it's as if you've slipped into a wormhole whose end is the beginning. The fragment of an hour can stretch the horizon's belt, or move the way a hummingbird's rapidly beating wings transform it into a jeweled ornament as if unmoving, fixed in space. You tell yourself someday you'll look back at this terrible year and wonder how anyone both lived through and endured all it brought.
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.