There's always still a row of shoe- shine boys next to the lottery ticket counter at the market, which your classmate Mario's father used to own. Mario drowned in a swimming accident. Perhaps he's buried in an ocean region where yellow boxfish are holding a secret Yayoi Kusama exhibit, since the afterlife is only another room in a largely unexplored museum. Perhaps his fortune is to look at the moon behind a blue veil of water without being charged the standard entry fee, while we spend all our lonely coins on the dream of a future without chains or jails or for- profit insurance. The shoe-shine boys sit you on a high wooden stool and hand you a copy of the day's newspaper, but you fall asleep. They'll slick the tops of your boots with wax and brush them to a glossy shine while humming salidummay. When you open your eyes, all the windows along the avenue are lit as if with fire. Don't worry, it's only the ancestors brandishing their torches at the apocalypse.
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.