You can read through a list
of household materials to determine
what is the best to use for a home-
made mask: cotton from an old T-shirt,
a clean panel from a vacuum cleaner bag;
a pillow case, a dish towel. In a video,
an abuela shows how she pleats two
strips of regular paper towel then folds
and staples each end around a rubber band.
Now, it is possible to live-stream the northern
lights from the safety of your own home.
Tonight, it is possible to watch a Broadway
musical or attend your sociology class without
changing out of your pajamas. When the sun
is out, you can still go for a walk by the river
or ride your bike around the deserted campus.
For now, you can pick up a coffee, a sandwich
and fries from your local café, as long as you
drive up to the pick-up window. The rituals
of the life that you used to know are changing
rapidly day by day. City streets are frighteningly
empty. Or maybe this is what they were meant
to be: stripped of all the layers of what you
used to think of only as busyness and commerce,
now you can see the sky behind the darkened billboards.
You might even see a little more beyond the pollution.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for her manuscript Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press in fall 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. 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.