A woman walks to church the Monday after Easter. She's wearing a light sweater because at last it feels like it could truly be spring. But who even goes to church anymore on a weekday morning in New York? The immigrant healthcare workers will tell you. The nannies and short- order cooks, the 1 AM custodial workers; grandmothers who spent years polishing other people's floors on their knees as if before a god who only cares that every surface reflects his many countenances. See the figure that approaches her from left of camera, spitting words we know by now have the power to wrench visible what's usually invisible. Say scourge and it becomes scourge, say peril; say it must go or doesn't belong. See her fall beneath the weight of a boot. Imagine the crack of her pelvis on the pavement, a sound muffled by traffic in its banal passage. Tell me how a woman slight of build could save every last penny in a clean pickle jar to put children through college, then copper her with bruises as sudden flowers erupt on her face. A few feet away, three doormen shut double glass doors that might have pulled her into quick safety. Across the street, someone is screaming. I don't know what words those might have been. I wasn't there. I'm there though I wasn't there.
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.