We're told: right time, right place. As if destiny was a random passage, was simple coincidence: as if histories of bondage were mere eventuality. A thing waiting to happen, but more a guarantee to some instead of others: their color or countenance wrong for their time, wrong for the place. Capacity: an appetite for increase. People as possessions, a destiny made manifest. Annexed through maps and by insolence, histories of bondage made mere eventuality. Expeditions, missions that fed colonial fantasies by canon, intermarriage, war and other forms of violence. Wrong for their time, wrong for the place; no destiny should demote what poets call possibility. Galleries bloated with artifacts— o weakness and blind love of opulence, as if histories of bondage were mere eventuality. What face looks back from this mirrored topography? Your musk, your brown, your brilliance that you held back until you were told right time, right place. As if destiny is history and bondage a given—the inhumanity.
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.