Iowa Writes

LEAH WALLER
Birth of a Poem


Poetry met me

under a willow tree

on the cuffs of an Iowa river.

I was scared

but he kissed my wrists

and told me that everything

would be alright.

He removed my clothes

slowly,

a sock,

then a sleeve.

So smooth I didn't know

I was naked

until the March breeze

laughed across my back.

I reached for something

to cover myself

but everything I grabbed

was just more and more

of him.

Poetry met me
under a willow tree
on the cuffs of an Iowa river.
I was scared
but he kissed my wrists
and told me that everything
would be alright.
He removed my clothes
slowly,
a sock,
then a sleeve.
So smooth I didn't know
I was naked
until the March breeze
laughed across my back.
I reached for something
to cover myself
but everything I grabbed
was just more and more
of him.
I had no choice
but to embrace him,
lest I expose my nakedness
any longer.
He was warm,
light, tender, and romantic.
So many kinds of delicious
I thought I should explode.
I spun, ran, ducked and dipped
in and out of reality.
Kissing the bends and joints
of my sudden desire.
Then I opened my eyes
and he was gone.
My mother told me I was foolish
to lie with a lover
who held thousands of hearts.
"Did you think he would stop for you?"
she asked.
My soul began to grow round and plump
over the next nine mouths.
I had decided
to put it up for adoption
when it was born.
I had no job
and no house
after all,
I could never support
such a thing.
It was a rainy morning
when the writing contractions began.
Closer and closer together,
shorter and shorter lines.
I felt pain
but I would not take drugs.
Pleasure,
though I screamed.
Suddenly the tiny thing burst out
caught by the gloved white hands
of the page.
My small bloody poem,
coughing and gasping desperately
for life.
I stared down at it.
Into the large blue eyes
of poetry
and I knew
in every batten
of my being
that this scroll
this flesh
of my flesh
was the answer
to life.

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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


LEAH WALLER

Leah is the author of the poetic work Under The Cedar Tree and was a featured author in This Enduring Gift. She currently resides in her hometown of Fairfield, Iowa, where she enjoys camping, sushi, rich morning coffee and plans to attend graduate school for poetry next fall.

www.thisenduringgift.com

This page was first displayed
on January 12, 2011

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