"Because it is written, be ye holy, for I am holy." ~ 1 Peter 1: 15-16 Every letter is folded into a disguise— ships' billows across the water, a rose thorn scribbling a postscript on your hand. In the yard, the secretary spiders are still working feverishly on their lines. What was it they were being punished for? In the school play, the child says the one line she has memorized: Fear not, for I bring you good news of great joy. We know what the angel must have said because someone wrote it down. And someone entered your name on the birth record, though not the more homely name spun by your parents out of air: your secret. Your mother's veins steeped in the scent of dry tobacco, spittle, and bitter gourds; your father's in the shape of a valley, church bells in a distant town. Your name bled from a rift in the clouds, where the ancestors dream of the last sweet they put in their mouths, the last book they read when they were alive. What are we if not made of writing?* What are we if not the conjurements we press upon time? (*thanks to Mattie Britt from my Craft of Poetry class for the line)
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.