Iowa Writes

AMANDA HERRERA
Rediscovering What Has Long Been Forgotten


It's your first time here and you're nervous. You've been told it's a wonderful place and that in the olden days many people used to spend their time here. Your grandmother told you about this place. She made it sound so wonderful, you had to visit one. There's only one left. She told you sadly.

You're on your way to the place. You're not sure what to expect. You find the building. The doors are heavy and the color of an unfamiliar metal. There are squiggly symbols on it. You don't know what they mean.

It's your first time here and you're nervous. You've been told it's a wonderful place and that in the olden days many people used to spend their time here. Your grandmother told you about this place. She made it sound so wonderful, you had to visit one. There's only one left. She told you sadly.

You're on your way to the place. You're not sure what to expect. You find the building. The doors are heavy and the color of an unfamiliar metal. There are squiggly symbols on it. You don't know what they mean.

It's dark and damp and smells stiff. You're alone, but you revel in it. You find the shelves your grandmother told you about. They are tall and wide and mostly empty, but you manage to find a few that house the object she mentioned. You try to find one that calls your attention; your finger feels a particular sensation when it touches a burgundy one. Nervous, you let your finger rest on its back. You stroke it and feel the unfamiliar texture. You pull it out.

It's heavier than you imagined, especially for its small size. It's thick too. You shift it back and forth in your hands. You like the weight of it. You imagine carrying it with you at all times and feel comfort in its magnitude. You press it to your chest and hold it close. You let your heart beat against it. You raise it to your nose and inhale. The scent is stale and bitter but also sweet.

You search around and find a chair. It's tattered, with its stuffing sprouting out, but it'll do. You settle into it and tuck your legs beneath yourself. You set the object on your lap and stare down at it admiringly. You allow yourself to touch the golden squiggles, the letters, your grandmother called them. You recognize this language and say the words in your head. Wanting to test them on your tongue, you whisper them. They're a secret between you and this newfound love. Hesitantly you open it. The binding creaks with age and sighs a welcome. Its contents flutter, soft and thin like a butterfly's wings. Yellowed like a dandelion.

You're engrossed with it, you're enamored, and you're going to steal it. You have to keep it with you now. You've become too attached to part. You must spend every free moment with this, studying and examining what it holds. But then you stop your thoughts from racing. What's it called again? You ask yourself. You return to the conversation you had with your grandmother: It's called a library and it's filled with these wonderful things called books! You smile. It's a book and now it belongs to you.

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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


AMANDA HERRERA

Amanda Herrera is a junior at the University of Iowa and is double majoring in English and Gender and Women's Sexuality Studies. She was born and raised in the city of Chicago. Much of what she writes is about her life as a fat woman in a thin world. Her dog, Noodles, is her favorite person and her guilty pleasure is reading Young Adult fantasy novels.

This page was first displayed
on January 09, 2013

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