~ after Remedios Varo, "Tiforal" (1947) In this calcified Eden, it's still possible to recognize shapes from a time when you freely named things in the world. Arches and discs still glow with the milky sheen of untroubled intermissions. Among these silver-grey terminals, a turbaned neurosurgeon sits in the mahogany-paneled dark of his office, tenting his fingers. I am trying to remember what he said about the complexity of pathways, about the root and the sheath and the vein. Radiant: a burst of heat or light emitted from a center. But also, how spokes of them might be delivered to a place where all beams meet. See how the tongues of leaves bend in one direction; how silhouettes distill the teeth and hair-combs of lightning. The underlying mechanism for wings; the points of beaks, a crown for starfish. Pilgrim, you walk this stretch carrying only your drinking cup. Do you remember learning water from pure hammered copper always tastes colder in the mouth? A body registers the force of any shock, well beyond the first encounter.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) 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 was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2020-22, and in 2021 received 1 of 23 Poet Laureate Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. 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.