Iowa Writes

SASHA STEENSEN
Wintery Weather and Job Slaughter


All our tales are tall:
one week after the inauguration,
the lost n in auger bores its hole in the frozen ground.
Daily life is holy bedeviling.
Who but a witness tree knew
the axe is an American native?
First thing today, I had my blood drawn.
In the distant waiting room,
we have to start by listening, the president says.
To what?
To what's been lost.
Octuplets born today—
that many more platelets to count,
that many more ears to open,
mouths to shut,
jobs to lose,
snows to shovel.

All our tales are tall:
one week after the inauguration,
the lost n in auger bores its hole in the frozen ground.
Daily life is holy bedeviling.
Who but a witness tree knew
the axe is an American native?
First thing today, I had my blood drawn.
In the distant waiting room,
we have to start by listening, the president says.
To what?
To what's been lost.
Octuplets born today—
that many more platelets to count,
that many more ears to open,
mouths to shut,
jobs to lose,
snows to shovel.
All emotion that matters
securely hidden
buried in a bed of heartsease,
fog and grown-over ferns
the terrific green,
still frozen,
still freezing
which doesn't mean hope
isn't eight times hotter
this time of year
just eight times
over
and melting
what?
fear?
My young saplings
and their hatchlings.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


SASHA STEENSEN

This poem is part of a collection titled Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama's First 100 Days, edited by Rachel Zucker and Arielle Greenberg, just out from University of Iowa Press.

Established in 1969 and housed in the historic Kuhl House, the oldest house still standing in Iowa City, the University of Iowa Press publishes scholarly books and a wide variety of titles that will appeal to general readers. As the only university press in the state, it is dedicated to preserving the literature, history, culture, wildlife, and natural areas of the region.

Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama's First 100 Days

University of Iowa Press

This page was first displayed
on April 30, 2010

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