You're always talking about how the past is not the past and instead fully here, as long as one keeps remembering the moment of tragedy or rupture— your father slipping into a coma then dying a week later; the last time your child spoke to you before turning away in anger. You imagine something like Escher's famous lithograph set in a world that apparently has at least two sources of gravity. Seven sets of stairs lead up and down inside a spacious house with arched doorways and cool tiles, windows overlooking well tended gardens or a park. The picture is called Relativity, which brings to mind the laws of physics making up the space-time continuum: events occurring at one time for one observer could be perceived by another as taking place at a different time. Thus, some figures going about their day in the print seem to be upside down as they climb, while others descend the same steps but on the other side. Should they happen to pass or catch a glimpse of each other, you wonder if there'd be a flicker of recognition. You wonder if they ever really go anywhere, or if one of them has ever thought to slide down (up?) a bannister. How long have they held to the same orbits, speeding up or slowing down depending on how acutely an old hurt or memory presses its fingers, dimpling the foccacia dough? Perhaps they've traced the same donut loop around and around so many times, they've forgotten where they met themselves. All they know is they must be going somewhere called either tomorrow or the future.
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.