clearer than I have in years, it seems I heard your voice speaking its narrative close to my ear. How quietly and steadily it built. How it put one foot in front of the other in sand, on stone. In mud and dark and afternoon light. Nights lit with blue shadows on snow, the sounds of metal grinding on metal as trains traced loops of flickering voltage through the city. I thought I could know you, those years when I pressed against your length like paper seeking an imprint of something other than itself. And I did, I do: though you are always a few steps ahead, signalling for me to follow. But I don't know how you've come to a place where you say you've learned to live with what gives you pain—what seizes tissue or nerve or flesh without warning, sharp as a spike or sustained like a note trussed to the next by a line that looks like a longbow. Monkey bridges span the gaps between banks of rivers. Cables of suspension bridges are built to sway in high wind to keep them from breaking. I cross from one end to the other, trying not to look into the gorge; trying to keep my eye on you.
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.