Luisa A. Igloria

ON KEEPING

She spoke the languages of flour,
of salt, of pepper. From her hands

issued heat and steam;
from her hips, small

constellations still learning
the lessons of combustion.

Once, we tore newspapers
into tiny squares and fed them

to the maw of a makeshift stove.
Windows lit up with low

wattage light. It was enough
to see by—enough to weigh

into logs and stud with dried
fruit, cloves, honey: they kept

nearly six months in tins,
tightly wrapped, unopened.

When she flew away, a moth
circled the milky light.

The kitchen drawers exhaled
all spice from their hearts.

—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
Mother: Three Pictures
First Night: In Mother’s House
Open House

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