On Easter morning, the town gathers to watch a girl they've chosen to play the announcing angel zipline above their heads from the church loft to the altar steps. She wears a white dress and a trembly flower halo, and cardboard wings that droop instead of flutter on each side of the wire harness. It's an honor to be chosen for this part; after all, there are more poultry boys and swineherds here than heavenly messengers. Perhaps it isn't surprising how such a story takes root in a country of farmers and fisherfolk, in villages where songs are made about the long and thankless labor of planting rice, making thatched-roof houses, giving the best of the harvest to the landlords who let them live on a tiny corner of the land. The egg is a thing produced by animals in sheds filled with straw and sand, the particular chemistry produced by sulfur and dust, pellets and feed. Each faintly craquelated orb: gathered and counted, not simply to be expended in a game where they're hidden then rolled in the grass by city children in Sunday frocks. As the angel hovers, she opens her mouth to sing refrains of hallelujahs. What a marvel they're all alive, after seasons alternating hurricanes and drought. What an idea: to move toward the repeated promise of life that simmers under the surface, like a volcano waking up to remind everyone of a heaven blue as a curtain beyond its perfect cone. ~ Salubong, meaning "to meet" (Tagalog/Filipino)
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.