In a country room a girl hasn't had any food or water for seventeen days. Her eyes weep blood. Then she eats only blessed wafers for more than half a year and yet weighs the same. Is there a reason the t in the word martyr looks like a giant cross, like the one that looms over I-75 exit 141 in La Follette, Tennessee and supposedly protects Christian travelers from the triple x porn store next door? My grandmother warned about the evils in this world, most of them not even exuding an evil vibe. The sheer nightgown not a relief during sweltering nights, but a strumpet's costume shrilling danger danger come hither to bands of marauding mosquitoes. Didn't Augustine say Make me chaste, Lord, but not yet? It's a miracle when I can find both my car keys and my house keys; when I make it just in time for a meeting I didn't even know I had. Look I'm truly sorry for all the shitty unsaintly things I've said or done. I hate to see suffering in others as in myself, though perhaps not in exactly the same way. Mostly I'm like you, I think: I cry when hurt, cheat on diets, only want desperately to be loved by those I'm told I shouldn't be wasting any more time on. It's terrible. It's glorious and terrible. I just want all of it. You know, sometimes.
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.