A community is never an abstract thing but a network of deeply intersecting relations— children, parents, godparents, grandparents, cousins; doctors, dentists, daughters-in-law... When has one of us ever unravelled in complete isolation by ourselves? Fundamental rule: no closed doors; a village doesn't say get out without a hearing. It's not misguided generosity or having it too good. Would you really let one of yours languish in the wind for some impediment? What if jurisprudence turns out to be false justice? Kindness coming from elsewhere might just look like kindness: i.e. when you're asked to make a sacrifice "for your own good"— but not to anyone who grew up hearing one for all & all for one, or we've got your back. Pity the traveler who can't find safe quarters in any city in the world; who can't find rice to go with a bowl of salt or bitter gourd. Somewhere, you catch a familiar whiff— talk story, fish sauce, sampaguita; though under a benevolent moon, spiked things will visually threaten with their shadows. Wouldn't you willingly go to war for one of your own? X-linked trait of those with histories of oppression. Yellow is to treachery is to cowardice is to peril they ascribe? Zip it. We're not taking it. You heard me. Zip it.
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.