All in by Luisa A. Igloria

by Luisa A. Igloria

In late afternoon sun, toddlers tilt

forward and back on yard swings

at the halfway home. The high


school girl who volunteers there

wants to know what mother,

what father would throw


a daughter out into the streets, say

Don’t come back or You are as good

as dead to me; and the middle-aged


woman washing up at the sink looks

through the window at the vanishing light,

startling at the sudden film on her cheeks.


What sifts through the packed soil

as years rush by? Swift as birds in the corn,

long green tassels in the summer evening;


lifted by wind, bearing redolence

of cow manure and honeysuckle.

Along the southbound road,


where the dip rises toward the knoll,

locals tell of a girl who rode behind

her brother on a motorcycle. Who


could have foreseen the truck in the other lane,

its side-view mirror glancing like a blade

along her jaw? The sky’s inverted basin


flooding her eyes with the surprise of indigo,

before the head’s brittle husk snapped back

and arms and fingers tightened in rigor


around the living body. That’s how we press

forward into deepening twilight, carry the shape

of our eternal cargo: the voice that breathes


in our ear saying love or goodbye—as we

crest the hill and gun to a stop, waiting for the lights

to flash and change from yellow to red to green.


Luisa A. Igloria's publications include What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Chapbook Poetry Prize), The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, March 2018), and Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (2014 May Swenson Prize, Utah State University Press). She teaches on the faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University, which she directed from 2009-2015.