15 My mother, who is only a few years younger than the widow of the former dictator, can only shuffle around the nursing home with a nurse by her side, holding her up and helping push the walker. Her soft bones bend her over. Her fingers can’t stop fluttering. Whereas the wife of the former dictator, now in her early nineties, can still walk with a certain kind of aplomb though there are folds under her chin. She is fleshy all over and made up, fingers winking with rings, tugging at her red butterfly sleeves and tight bodice. Whereas my mother has never ridden a private limousine through the city, dispensing bundles of cash to the poor running alongside. The only thing they possibly have in common is their love for that song and its saccharine refrain: Because of you I want to live; because of you until I die. My late father would have said: Look what money can buy. Or cannot buy.
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.