After many years, the river ran into the river,
     and the wilderness thickened beside it.

Body overgrown with moss, love made
     a hunted sound calling from the nether layers.

Clouds of birds rose to pin themselves
     to branches. They looked so much like leaves.

Dirt rained down when I shook them loose
     and they pooled like dark pods in my hands.

Every time we looked for the moon,
     a different planet floated into view.

Follow those flashes of light and see
     where islands disappeared. It’s said

every lighthouse is visible underwater,
     a cake topper ringed with flickering candles.

Grown now out of their first abandonment,
     the children know only this shore:

haze of vanished honeysuckle stenciled
     on a trellis, burns and coppered bullet shells.

Imagine a dream like air that used to live
     inside a gold balloon, and the string

just out of reach of our hands. Imagine
     each day a new season, change after change

knocking to be let in, and quickly—are those
     the same curtains that billowed over Hiroshima,

Leyte, Manila Bay? They still make the sunsets
     unbearably beautiful—gold-streaked indigo,

mutinies of tamped-out fire where
     warships, rigs, and galleons once docked in

navy shipyards and blue coves. Once,
     we smoothed the sands and painted stones.

Once, hundreds fell out of the sky and into
     the waters they hoped would save them.

Place a hand on a headstone and the other
     over your heart. When you feel a tremor,

quietly pick up a stick and write in the loam
     the first name that comes into your mind.

Remember the taste of fruit you know now
     only as a color: red perhaps, seed and heart,

spikes encasing the smallest knob of tender-
     ness. At night, someone calls for stories:

tales that begin in dread and finish
     with three or more tests that must be

undertaken—Except we need to be careful:
     it also means the business of undertakers.

Ventriloquists for the dead, somehow
     they know how to interpret last wishes.

We should be so lucky to have, in our own
     time, a representative of the most internal.

Xanthates, acids, alkali in the soil; bleached
     particles of all that’s disappeared before us.

Yeast bubbling in the wood, soft, spongy
     pockets that open wherever we walk. Endless

zooplankton: another name for wanderer; eternal
     jellyfish wrested from home, adrift in the universe.

Luisa A. Igloria is one of two co-winners of the 2019 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry open competition for her manuscript Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, fall 2020). In 2015 she was the inaugural winner of the Resurgence Poetry Prize, the world’s first major award for ecopoetry. Other works include The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis, Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser–winner of the 2014 May Swenson Poetry Award–and twelve other books. She teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University, which she directed from 2009-2015.