Globes of them appear at farmstands and in the supermarket, crowned and shiny in their red leather corsets; scored, peeled back, baring the teeth of hundreds of days and the darkness they drop early. The red muscled fruit inside your own chest tightens as soon as winged flocks trace their coal-black routes southward, as soon as bedroom floors creak and door hinges swing with every daughter's departure. Sure, they come back in time, sporting gauge earrings, dramatic hair, a new tattoo on their arm; a way of talking absently or as if you aren't really there. In famous stories of descent into some underworld, there's a dark wood in which one could get lost, a boat at the river or an opening in the earth. Next time, you'll be the one to heed the cue of the season. You'll pack good shoes, tinned food, a warm blanket, stacks of books to read through the rest of winter.
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.