The Iowa Review


Roused on the isthmus dividing eastbound
and westbound, launched from the grill
of an '86 Cutlass, wicked knot throbbing

on my crown. I remember the driver
swerving. I stood absolutely still. Ascension
omitted. That frame's been clipped

along with the wire joining
input and animal fear. It was
the year I attempted to defect

to the lion enclosure, stuck neck-deep in the bars
the pride stirred, rose upon their haunches.
25 years they've stalked from shade

in my mind's eye. What a difference a foot makes
notes the near-death recidivist
budged to the edge

of the subway platform.
When the ravening out of darkness speeds
and the bad star advances in the channel

one eye looks inside, one away.
To step or lapse to the flesh?
No one is coming

to slather my head in margarine
and slip me back to my keeper's hands.

The Iowa Review

Founded in 1970 and edited by faculty, students, and staff from the renowned writing and literature programs at the University of Iowa, The Iowa Review takes advantage of this rich environment for literary collaboration to create a worldwide conversation among those who read and write contemporary literature.
     They publish a wide range of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, translations, photography, and work in emerging forms by both established and emerging writers. Work from their pages has been consistently selected to appear in the anthologies Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories.

The Iowa Review online


Lisa Wells is a poet and essayist from Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, The Iowa Review, The Believer, Best New Poets, Denver Quarterly, Third Coast and elsewhere. She was a 2015 Emerging Writer in Residence at Yale-NUS in Singapore, and holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her essay collection Believers is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. She lives in Tucson, Arizona with the poet Joshua Marie Wilkinson.

1989 was originally published in The Iowa Review 45/3 (Winter 2015/16)

This page was first displayed
on December 13, 2016

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