They come into a store or café, heads bent slightly; at their age, it's an effort to keep the spine straight. Still, they take pains to look as they've always been. Pay attention: you could imagine them petal-skirted, willowy. At their age, it's an effort to keep the spine straight. But on one, a flowery scarf; on another, a stack of bright bangles. Look close: see them balloon-skirted, lighthearted, willowy— The world still soft, uncrowded. No hard hours, children, lovers. Sunflower scarves, bandannas; dark lipstick, stacks of bangles. A book or cigarette in one hand; a languid flick of ash away. Can the world be soft again, uncrowded with hours, children, lovers? Sometimes they forget their names but not words for sound or color. Dark glasses, cigarette in hand. Flicking away the ash while leaning back in the front seat of a car, engine running. Who was in the driver's seat, what song was on the radio? The road had no real horizon—it just seemed to go on and on. Lean back, have time for something delicious again; have time. When they come into a store or café, their heads might nod slightly. When they speak, you might hear the deep voice of certain rare flowers. Look close: imagine them bell-skirted. Uncreased or calyxed, willowy.
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.