The lab technician draws blood into several vials, presses on the puncture site with a square of gauze and whips a band-aid across it— In case you're a bleeder, he says. After the doctor prescribes statins, you stop eating grapefruit. Anticoagulants are supposed to balance the odds for unwanted clots gathering in the dense platelet forests of your blood. I nick a finger sometimes, trying to cut through the thick outer skin of kabocha, or separating the ribcage of a whole chicken from the pink lining of its flesh. Some faint at the merest gash or drop of red— but there are things more mysterious than the wound, and therefore more disconcerting. Even the glass frog, smaller than a postage stamp and almost as gelatinous as a gummy bear, still confounds science—asleep, its organs hide the blood, rendering it if not completely invisible, then barely perceptible. Pasted against a leaf like a wet translucence, an outline of itself; with nearly all cells carrying oxygen packed into the liver's styrofoam box, how does it even keep breathing? And yet it does.
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.
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