How many turns in place on the school playground—your head flung upward, your eyes looking straight at the steeple of the church next to the gym— before you're gripped with vertigo or tip ground- ward? Once, on TV, a seismologist offered: what if, between the big magnitude quakes that flatten cities, disrupt our lives and push lava out of volcano cones, the tiny, daily tremors beneath the earth are too fast, too close together so they register on the needle as a line we think is flat? There are towns with roofs still sunk in hardened clay; buried belfries and plaster saints whose cloth robes have turned the color of dust, whose heads now resemble shredded dandelions. Stippled indentations on walls mark the places where birds careened out of the mouths of cliffs, colliding with their own displacement. I can't imagine how it is that a tortoise holds up the pillar of the world; how a legless snail holds tight to this surface of trembling filaments.
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.