Lagoon: city cesspool, tenth circle in our annual infernos of hurricane and flood. The poor build shanties there, where no one wants to live. Inner tubes and discarded tires used as weights on their roofs; as the waters rise, flotation devices. One year, whole neighborhoods went to sleep as the wind's compass sheared close and delivered tombs of water. Unlikely survivors: a three-legged dog; a blind man, ears ready to pick up any prodigal noise. Whoever else hasn't perished comes back to the scenes of their near obliteration. Not a bean or kernel of grain unbloated, not a drawer without a few tin spoons helplessly paddling in place. Where can you go when you have nowhere else to go? Unlike the early explorers with their sticks dipped in ink and ashes, pointing at the glow of stars, believing in an infinite universe to navigate with their three-masted sails.
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.