After the earthquake, we fixed then sold the damaged house in order to pay off the housing loan. It had been built on a strip of land right next to my father's— next to the home of my girlhood to which I returned with my children after we lost everything. Every time I walked down the road toward our gate, I could see through the front window the awful dark stain the new owners had put on walls that used to be warm, honeyed wood. I cried over the loss of the. west-facing view from the second floor, the dark-leaved avocado tree in the back. We'd pushed our beds under the low eaves so we could paddle more quickly into dreams: one night, held in such deep sleep beneath a curtain of rain, we were spared the sounds of burglars jimmying a kitchen window open, then running away with a toaster and a boombox they didn't know was broken. Someone is always saying you don't realize what you miss until it's lost or taken— the way you might look at a telephone and imagine the shadow of a cord coiling away from the receiver; the shape of a bell that used to swing at the end of a rope and that someone climbed a tower every morning in order to ring.
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.