We are building a box. A shed. A thing in which we might keep garden tools, and bags of soil or mulch, or sacks of grass seed, or boxes of old Christmas ornaments. To build a box we have to go down to the city hall to secure a permit to build a box. The permit is called a certificate. To be certified we have to hire the services of a surveyor. They have to come and eyeball your property then measure. I did the same thing beforehand with an extra ball of blue acrylic yarn from my stash. It measured up, except I wasn’t an official surveyor. The survey cost three hundred fifty dollars. I could have certified myself but I am not allowed. Once I gave my husband a haircut and his boss told him maybe his wife should stick to the things she knows best. Why does someone always know best? Good, better, best. In my book, you either know or you don’t know. But if you don’t, you can go looking for the answer. I don’t mean Google or Wikipedia: I mean go out and stand in the yard and look around, figure out things in relation to the pitch of the roof to the swoop of a bird, the angle of your shadow and how a person at the far end of the driveway can look like he’s standing on the palm of your open hand. Squint and move to the right or left until you get it right. Paint the roof that color.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) is the 2023 Immigrant Writing Series prize winner for Caulbearer: Poems (due out from Black Lawrence Press in 2024), and Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 2020). She was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2020-22, and in 2021 received 1 of 23 Poet Laureate Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. 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.