Luisa A. Igloria

MOTHER: THREE PICTURES

She is beautiful in that photograph where they are dancing in a roomful of other couples. She has a beauty mole penciled on her cheek, slightly to the right of her lip. Her eyebrows are two perfect arches, her hair a dark beehive. I think there are dots on her dress. Where is this photograph? I would like very much to have it.

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In another she is posing on a terrace overlooking the crater lake with Taal Volcano in the center. She is beside a famous painter who has nonetheless been introduced to us as the wife of a famous painter: a long-lost cousin of my father who paints in the naif style—audacious colors, bold outlines. You could say that piety is her subject: all saints, religious icons. Mother looks like a young Audrey Hepburn with a cropped hairstyle, in a plain black dress she sewed herself.

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I vaguely remember seeing a thin album of wedding pictures, all in sepia. I do not think she wore a veil. Her dress may have been a sheath. There was a picture of them cutting a cake. From the church ceremony, a picture of father’s niece and nephew putting the cord around their shoulders. The cord like an 8. Infinity grounded by a knot in the center.

—from Maps for Migrants and Ghosts © Luisa A. Igloria


0-27LUISA A. IGLORIA is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Poetry Competition for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (forthcoming, September 2020, from Southern Illinois University Press); and the author of 14 books of poetry, most recently The Buddha Wonders If She Is Having a Mid-life Crisis. Awards include the May Swenson Prize and the Resurgence Poetry Prize, the world’s first major ecopoetry award. She is a Louis I. Jaffe Professor and University Professor of English and Creative Writing in the MFA Program at Old Dominion University; she also teaches at the nonprofit Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, VA. Her work has appeared in journals like Orion, The New England Review, Poetry, Poetry East, Shenandoah, Crab Orchard Review, Lantern Review, and Cha.

Other works
On Keeping
First Night: In Mother’s House
Open House

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