The phone rings. The caller, a woman, says in a frantic voice: “I cain’t find the fried chicken. I cain’t find the fried chicken.” In the background are car horns, indistinguishable voices. “Wrong number,” I say. She doesn’t hear above the noise. I have to repeat: “Wrong number.” A while later the phone rings again. I forget to check the number, but I’m thinking it’s still the chicken lady, desperate for her dinner. I wonder if I should ask her why the chicken crossed the road. Or where. Or why not baked or rotisserie chicken. But it’s not the chicken lady; it’s my contractor with the bad attitude, responding to my query from a week ago about roof repair. Scratch that: more like, hectoring. I can hardly get a word in edgewise— “You oughta’ be grateful it’s only a leak. You know I’ve got xyz jobs in far worse shape than what you got, that need my immediate attention. I’m running all over the place. I really don’t have the time. I coulda’ told you when you bought that house that the roof was bad.” Yeah? Well I don’t need to be lectured, mister. Pulverize is a word that applies to a number of materials. Pressure pulls the wire to decrease the stitch. Goodbye, wrong number. I don’t think I’ll be doing business with you again.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) was recently appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2020-2022). She is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 2020). She 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 former US Poet Laureate 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; she also teaches classes at The Muse Writers’ Center in Norfolk. 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.