"Take note; and even as I speak these words, do you transmit them in your turn to those who live the life that is a race to death." ~ Beatrice to Dante, Purgatorio 33, 52-54 Beloved, each day the waters of the earth rise a little more. At the polar ends, they're flushed with heat pushing up from ocean currents that shear away sheets of ice. We still take what we can. In the midst of such rapid dwindling, each heated afternoon we uncoil the garden hose and train its mouth upon the small, parched planets we've created in pots. Every mouth could gladden for what passes into it and greens it with breath. On the coast, the dense berm of mangrove forests thins; their breathing roots drown in too much water. Yesterday, I too felt like I was drowning. The years were rushing too far ahead of me, and I could barely remember how to hold them, how once they held me as if all the light in the world was new. Stars burn. We could be glaciers adrift in a slow-moving river. Beloved, still I look for anchor as the sky thickens with signs and uncertain ciphers. There are moments, as when you take my face into your hands.
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.