Sometimes you have dreams that the dead suddenly and for no apparent reason enter, where they instruct you to surreptitiously crack the eggs on supermarket shelves, bring in the dolphin from the road which has turned into a river, or gather rare orchids from the rainforest. At such times, they seem like stoned oracles, dispensers of signs and omens too weird to decipher. Sometimes you can't tell if they're serious or joking; and when a ghost is joking all you can think of is there's still so little evidence on the subject of life after death. Why is it that when it's humid and sultry and you unwind the garden hose to water the plants, an hour or two later the rain comes down in sheets? Your hands still carry the metallic smell of water tempered by dust when you press them against glass. They leave a slight outline— as if you were touching a hazy version of yourself in another world.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) is the 2023 Immigrant Writing Series prize winner for Caulbearer: Poems (due out from Black Lawrence Press in 2024), and 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.