Iowa Writes

DANA SONNENSCHEIN
Family Farm


Not even the corrugated fields,
the well water and Sunday dinner,
could prepare a green college girl
to be left alone to labor:

the closeness of furrow and farrow
when a great sow began to grunt
under heatlamps, to heave like lava,
dropping piglets till only the runt,

dark and reluctant, remained,
coiled beneath her tail. She rocked
the boards with her weight and began
sinking to sit. I panicked.

Not even the corrugated fields,
the well water and Sunday dinner,
could prepare a green college girl
to be left alone to labor:

the closeness of furrow and farrow
when a great sow began to grunt
under heatlamps, to heave like lava,
dropping piglets till only the runt,

dark and reluctant, remained,
coiled beneath her tail. She rocked
the boards with her weight and began
sinking to sit. I panicked.

But slapping her bristled haunch
was like slapping a mountain;
I found myself bound to reach
beneath, feel for that pig, half-in,

half-out of a world with too much use
for him. But I wasn't thinking,
Pigs are smart. Common sense
wiped his fluttering nose clean

and chafed his skin: slippery life
will have warmth and light. And nothing
would have surprised that new midwife
more than the news: Pigs eat their kin,

though she saw blood marking the hand
she carefully wiped on her dress
and silos holding yellowed seasons
in spires of indelicate mesh.

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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


DANA SONNENSCHEIN

Dana Sonnenschein graduated from the University of Iowa in 1983 but still comes back regularly to visit family. Currently, she teaches at Southern Connecticut State University. She has published two chapbooks, Corvus and No Angels But These; a full-length collection, Natural Forms, is forthcoming from Word Press in 2006.

This page was first displayed
on June 06, 2006

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