~ in the manner of a Craig Santos Perez "recycling;" and after “Aristotle” by Billy Collins Almost everything has perhaps happened. This is where we’re stuck, searching for that original light, how it’s gone from the eye of the fish that wriggled onto land, the words from a lost eden indecipherable from textspeak on a screen. Think of Aristotle’s idea of beauty, his first principles of order and symmetry, a dancer dead center on a stage performing; multiplied as virtual, through millions of screens. Is this the beginning of the proverbial end? As first-person narrators introducing ourselves, sometimes we’ll talk of chosen rather than biological family. A child whistles an old movie tune in the alley, not knowing where he first heard it. Ultramarathoners are studying the terrain and weather, pulling long swigs from gallon-sized BPA-free water bottles. This is still early on, years before the very last final thunderclap; no rescue ship, no rosy-fingered dawn. Skateboarders congregate below the expressway to admire murals a la Banksy on gray concrete though they didn't learn figure drawing with charcoal sticks. They'll try a new flip, kickflip, impossible. This is an opening perhaps, a move: something that proceeds, refreshingly, without cold calculation? This is the part where the wheels of gas-guzzling vehicles begin to turn up in empty lots, where quiet electric cars and hybrid vans whiz through the streets before or after the bridges’ brittle collapse. This is the in-between. That thing once called complication is better addressed as liminal space. Not simple, but not untenable. Overnight, more new cities emerge out of the fog, populated by migrants from all of earth’s quarters— a billion visa stamps, a billion “real IDs.” Distrust still patrols the terminals in a nondescript uniform with sagging hems. He waves a metal detector. He opens knapsacks, turns luggage inside out, asks whether there’s curry or dried fish. This is the part where the plot could still be if not reversed, then jettisoned in some audacious, unexpected direction.
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.