“People said, when we were too young to understand why, that we’d ‘been here before,’ meaning we were carrying our sorrow or acumen, wearing it like a cloak.” ~ Remica Bingham Risher We were carrying our sorrow, wearing it like a cloak. We were always polishing the floorboards of grief. We were waiting for the wisdom of our elders to sweeten the streets with lamplight and milk. We were sieving through frozen loam for precious bulbs: their names were song- after-mourning, color-of-healed- flesh, beautiful scar tissue. All winter, we thought only of spring. All spring, we thought of summer. All summer, we dreamed of the sea even as our bodies plumped with mineral blue. In fall, we mended our ill-fitting clothes with threads in burning colors. We were carrying our sorrows, learning to wear them like joy.
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.