Early evening in the room where the many- months-slowly-dying father drowses in his robe, in his favorite chair— She's spent long afternoons sorting through shelves and drawers; finally, he's given permission to jettison parts of his small galaxy of papers: a lifetime of work with its bills and certificates, prescriptions and receipts, its notes and letters. It's the latter that she lingers over most, creasing and uncreasing, aching to find the missing parts of stories. Outside, neighborhood children scrape the beveled road with cardboard carts; peal after peal echoes as they accelerate, closer to the bottom, until they tire of their game or get called home by their mothers. Windowpanes flushed with heat and light darken rapidly as geckos begin to scroll their call and response. Considering her reflection in the mirror and the brow as smooth and broad as his, decades later she'll wish she'd known to acknowledge the more important things than how, exactly, she was made.
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.