Kuchisabishii is a Japanese word whose meaning is best described as eating not from hunger but because your mouth is lonely. For instance, you've just had dinner but can't settle down with a book or crossword. Rain is falling on the roof but sleep eludes you again— tonight it's disappeared into the pantry, so you rummage among boxes of wheat crackers and tinned sardines, a bag of gummi worms left over from Halloween (your mouth is not that lonely). Perhaps it wants a cold leaf of ice from the freezer, a scoop speckled with vanilla bean. The mouth is a door to a hundred hungers, none of which you really understand anymore. One door is stress eating; another, grief eating. There are eating-after-bad-breakups scenes in the movies, and eating from a surfeit of joy. There was eating through long months of isolation: one cracked pumpkin seed at a time, and night after night soaked in hot chili oil washed down with milk.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) 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 was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2020-22, and in 2021 received 1 of 23 Poet Laureate Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. 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.