Studies show that seeing their own mirror images gives creatures an increased ability to develop social responses—Parrots and fighting fish, sea lions and crayfish placed in tanks whose outer walls are wrapped in a reflective lining are observed to rear up more, curl their tails, walk clockwise or counter- clockwise because they see an image of something that resembles them going through those motions. It's the reason we suddenly have the urge to yawn after seeing someone scrunch their eyes while opening their mouth; why hearing the sound of retching from a nearby bathroom stall might incite the need to gag. With the onset of the pandemic, handshakes and high fives gave way to fist or elbow bumps. And before that, the inside of the elbow became preferred cushion for a sneeze. History is a long, cobbled street lined with grey buildings: at every window, a cat or a child or a man or woman has their faces pressed to the glass, waiting to see who will wave, who will raise or lower a basket filled with bread and water; who will put their thumbs and fingertips together in the shape of a heart; who will point an imaginary gun at the head, who will duck under the sill or throw up their hands.
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.