Until the end, the brain does what it can to figure out the narrative unfolding for the body. And so, alternately, she whimpers and talks to presences, demands her money or jewels back, announces she is leaving for the country; cries out from what she calls her prison cell. This thing called dying, it can be an unpredictable process: more than a few weeks, or only a couple of days. Did hers begin when the people she lived with sold off her marble end tables, fleeced money from her dwindling accounts; turned off her access to light and water, locked her in her room while they left to do whatever they called work? The tongues of shoes are tied up with laces. The lamps are muffled with shades. The space between the breast and the buttons of a shirt becomes a place for hiding morsels of bread. More muted refrains of cicadas leftover from summer scatter like husks on the ground. Every little point of radiance draws moths to their fate. They too glisten before they dwindle, taken by flame.
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.