Iowa Writes

Essay on Four Boys

The day is long but it cannot contain us.
I am bound to creation by the veins that know nothing.
Little boys once played on that stone wall
And I held their hands.
In a chemical I let myself hold them.
I had my time, I had more than I deserved.
I get sick talking with myself.
Too bad I couldn't become a stone when I die,
Plucked by a young boy's hand
From the system of a clear stream,
Every bridge in town rattling through a dream.
The body has a religious need for silence.
As if the mind could not be filthy in it.
Four boys climbed a tree that held them all
As long as the day.
They fell one by one in the asthma of contrition.
To speak of it is to eat your way out of a membrane,
A burning bone held in the hand,
A vein hanging from the mouth,
A vapor inhaled by a machine or a cow.
Hard faces now at their rowing
Through the filaments of our names.

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.

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Although originally from Long Island, New York, George Eklund spent his undergraduate years at the University of Dubuque, 1970–74. He moved back east to teach in the public schools, but in 1979 he returned to Iowa to write and teach. He attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop from 1987 to 1989. Since finishing his graduate work at Iowa, he has taught in the creative writing program at Morehead State University in eastern Kentucky. "Essay on Four Boys" appears in the Fall 2007 issue of The Iowa Review.

This page was first displayed
on November 11, 2007

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