Before sundown, name the specter that wants to steal your heart or the heart of your child. Free the bitter heart from its swimming pool of bile, or the impostor heart hesitating in the doorway of its own home. And all of us have been that girl told to love her tower-prison because the world she's only allowed to glimpse from a tiny window can hardly be real. Marbled blue-green and veined with magenta, strings of hearts tumble down the walls and into your hand. Briars grow upward, out of their knotted roots; then wind their thorns around the pillars. Before the days lengthen and the earth falls fallow again for a whole season, feed the hungry heart a last meal of crimson fruit, something it will hide under its tongue and savor slowly, piece after piece. Everyone keeps something back for those days that might not lean like a lover into one's arms. You listen for the flute of returning birds, for the crack of icicles releasing from winter's heart.
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.