Afternoon drips into evening and still the heat's a nonstop haze. But you remain outside, training a hose among what greenery struggles to make it past this stage of life. Clusters of psylla swarm the undersides of persimmon leaves—Discoloration. Edges that curl in the general direction of blight. For fruit to have a chance at fruiting, you've vowed this constant attention. Growth was never easy for anyone to negotiate. How is it any different among the flora and fauna? Ichor alternating with scab, or: the body learns to bear its scars. Job should give a Ted Talk on that. Kept bottled, though, agonies never have a chance to transform into something else without a bitter top note, an undercurrent of resentment. Launched without warning, they give off a burnt gunpowder smell, or set a vein into anxious flutter. Maybe it won't be so bad. No one's expert at life, though everyone wants to be seen and loved, made to feel they matter. Older or younger makes no difference— Picture the heart palpitating like an uncertain engine, while fingering its worry beads. Quantify the time spent pickling in various anxieties, multiplied by minutes of self-inflicted lowballing. Rain couldn't compete with that much damp. Still, there's bound to be some levity when least expected; some respite, a squint of light behind a door leading finally to Arrivals. Think of how tadpoles transform into tiny frogs: at first, oily blurs in water. Until one day, 14 weeks later, the tails shrink and the front and back legs pop right out. Voila! Whether or not they're ready, the clock strikes the hour. Xylems, cells, the complete mechanism of inward and outward— You put the rest of it to faith that they'll find their way. Zoning in one day, they'll see (you hope) what they were meant to be.
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.