It was more than a house—Walls of pine, exposed heartwood. A trellis supporting vines and sticky globes of fruit. The world beyond the garden gate, glimpsed too from the windows: little teacup, mountains forming a scalloped rim. Two lanterns lit the way at night. The way the doorbell would ring a kind of code to signal our arrivals. Yerba buena, good herb, greening the air by the porch. Ladders of bougainvillea climbing to the roof. Ghosts that trailed in robes through the halls, dropping grey hairs and cigar ash as they passed; or furtive letters they wrote and slipped into pockets, before they left this world. Under the clothes- line, you strung two blankets to make a tent. We sat underneath it, shelling peas or snapping winged beans in two—ink-edged and ruffled, a thing that grew in the hot sun as if from nothing. Bitter gourd and spongy gourd, armored squash and spears of okra—out of hardscrabble soil insisting on the truth of life.
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.