Driving to pick up my prescription lenses, I listen to a radio show where the host is interviewing people about the one big regret of their lives so far. A woman tells the story of the girl next door who was her best friend all the way through to college: sandwiches and study hall, secrets, sleepovers. She's not exactly sure how or why they drifted apart. Another woman told a similar story about her college roommate and how close they became, until one of them had a bad opinion about a boyfriend. Both eventually tried to reconnect, after years of virtual silence. But in the first case, it was too late; when this woman finally rang her friend, it was to learn she'd just passed away from cancer. The second one worked up the courage to look up a phone number, and the long- lost friend returned the call. It was as though the empty decade before had never happened. Both women spoke of regret as the wish they'd done something sooner rather than later: not been afraid of what others might think of their awkwardness and shortcomings, not been concerned that their timing was off or if they might barge in where in the end they wouldn't be wanted. Both looked back or over their shoulder to see regret's younger sibling, hindsight— now all grown up and looking left and right before crossing the road.
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.