September: you make your way between your mother's thighs. That is to say, indigo profusion of salvia on the periphery, bats flying at dusk over the army hospital close to the Pasig River where someone typed in names on a blank birth certificate form. That is to say, somehow you are a parcel conveyed from one set of arms to another even before cords of the birth stump wither on each end. This, after all, is a country of a thousand secrets carried carefully in women's throats. Even the backs of moths have eyes that look like doors. Once vivid, blood dries to the color of wilted hydrangeas. The only way to avoid being pinned to the windmill or torn like a kite is to let someone else inhabit this story. Bend your head over the font of holy water; mouth the shape of your new names, the sounds of their splitting and reconstituting. Hold the hand that leads you away and into the rest of another life.
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.