Incremental: [adjective] increasing gradually by regular degrees or additions

We do the rounds, list address after address,
then make appointments to inspect the premises;
all the properties we’ve checked are more or less
close: a range of eight to fifteen miles at best
from where we currently reside. New to the process,
we’re warned not to fall in love too quickly or say yes
to everything, not get too attached nor obsessed
with one or another set of charming features, lest
we forget what we’re looking for. Incremental progress
so far— as we calculate, submit to being assessed:
what we’ve earned versus what we haven’t saved, the press
of percentages against the sharp glint of dream. Oh dressed
doorways with welcome mats, driveways and shaded decks—
behind glass we almost see our figures at home, at last.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← TraceDear modest four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath →

Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) 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 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. 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.

15 Replies to “Prospecting”

  1. Read this aloud to Martha tonight (we’re house-hunting too, you know!) She liked it.

    And here I thought I knew every rhyme scheme any English sonnet would ever have!

  2. What interests me about this exercise is how much prosier it sounds than Luisa’s usual offerings, despite — or because of? — the end-rhymed structure. Very interesting effect.

  3. Hannah, every line but the last is either -ess or -est. But the very last line doesn’t, and the effect is really striking. When you rhyme that much the non-rhyme jumps out at you. Which is really interesting. Reminds me of the way Old English “alliterates” on initial vowels: the lack of a consonant is, apparently, felt so sharply that its absence qualifies as something rhymable.

        1. Hmm, I think it is slant, as it picks up so many other similar end words…

          Although I have been guilty of writing about high things and then starving the rhyme at the very end and ending on “earth,” so I am sympathetic to unruliness!

          1. Yeah, according to some definitions it would be. I just mean that, in the context of 13 lines of closer rhyme, it’s further from the midline, not closer. A slant rhyme is usually something that edges towards a rhyme; this is edging away.

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