Along the coast, more whales have been reported coming ashore this year than in others. Bats swoop through humid skies above the swamp. Couldn't mistake this place for anything but south. Dismal fringe of dying vegetation— and yet. Every now and then you want to drop the necklaces you wear, or at least their pendulous weights... Fold and fold, so a square morphs into a triangle. Grids are not what you're after. Have you felt the satisfaction of cutting away, then being rewarded? In the center of each star, a node for branching. Just when you think paper could take no more, it yields feather and web, the shape of what could fall through the sky to catch on your sleeve. Keep one if it should land on your tongue, and close your eyes. Loneliness is just one letter from loveliness. Open your eyes before steam blurs the clear, sharp edges. Pretend you remember what it's like to be the first to score a field of white with your steps, how your weight presses softly into powdery snow. Quiet wind smooths your tracks afterward; no one would know you were even there. Reversals are difficult to engineer, so when they happen, they feel like otherworldly intervention. Sometimes that's the way the dead send letters from wherever they've gone. Tell yourself they only want to feel something of them survives. Under a canopy, a coppice, a cross-hatched thicket— Vague sense of being adrift in a time without time. White on white on white until the world can silver. Xysts become the quitest promenades. You don't have to be happy or un- happy; don't have to be whole to be here. Zygotes birth such fragile stars, bonding water and air.
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.