The universe says you'll get smacked with a lesson as many times as it takes for you to learn it— If that's so, what lesson could possibly be in this tiny, annoying hair that keeps growing back in the same spot, on the right side of your chin? You stand on tiptoe to get a better angle at the mirror; tweezers in hand, you pull it out, marveling at how a small irritation commands total absorption. A week later, it's back—nagging feeling, indetermnate itch. In Virginia Beach, 4 dead humpback whales have washed up on the shore since the beginning of the year— you could say they are also a kind of lesson that hasn't been learned. Necropsies show injuries consistent with vessel strikes in waters thick with ship traffic. If the world is ending, each cetacean body that perishes on sand is a fallen leaf, a wound bled open in the middle of a horizon of false starts. We keep saying there's time, the window's still open. Until it's not.
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.
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