Repetition lays grooves in the tracks of her speech— each pass makes the same sounds, tells the same stories. The common room is her kingdom, the bedroom her cell. Trembling, she calls for rescue from unseen persecutors. Each pass produces the same sounds, the same stories. Sometimes she cries for her sister or her lover, both long dead. Trembling, she calls for help—who's coming for her? Like a leaf, she slides under the covers. She cries out for her sister or her lover, both long dead. She doesn't believe that they couldn't hear her. She is thin as a leaf slipping under the covers. Are the sheets cool as satin, is it her wedding night? She doesn't believe that the dead can't hear her. Don't they live in the air, in dappled shadow, in water? Who lay with her on satin sheets, who wed her? Fish in the shallows, moths in the net of a lamp. Don't the dead live in the air, in dappled shadow, in water? The common room is her kingdom, the bedroom a holding cell. Fish in the shallows, moths that line the net of a lamp— Tracks that repeat in the mind and the groves of her speech.
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.