My arms are bound by thick blue bands of rubber. I want to show the children who come to peer at me through glass how to scissor their enemies, exert, with one claw, pressure of a hundred pounds per square inch. In a Dutch still life, boiled orange and arranged with shell slashed down the middle beside a toppled goblet, a dish of butter softening in the heat, a tray of nearly moldering lemons, I am meant to be one of many emblems of vanitas: how all things swiftly yield to ruin even before they're buried in the soil, though I and my kind have been known to live up to a hundred years. I am a lesson in deconstructed anatomy: brain in throat, teeth in the abdomen, kidneys in the head; ears in the legs, filaments for taste in the feet. Once, I grew to a length of almost five feet— how easy it would have been to be eater rather than the eaten.
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.