Iowa Writes

Metal Fatigue

The scientists say
metal has memory.
Flesh forgets.

The chilled edge of exile
pushes down my gullet
following my bends and twists
to where I keep my past life.

My flesh is thick with the
scars of lack and lust fulfilled.

I press deep
—deep as home—
into my callous flesh
for those last
morsels of memory.

Until, under another moon,
the silver edge of exile
snaps in my throat

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


Prasenjit Gupta graduated from the Writers' Workshop in 1995 and earned his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Iowa in 2000. He is the author of A Brown Man and Other Stories and also translates fiction and poetry from Hindi and Bengali. He has received Fulbright and NEA awards and currently serves as a diplomat for the State Department.

This poem originally appeared in Volume 5, Number 1 of 100 Words , a journal published by the University of Iowa's International Writing Program between 1993 and 1998. Each piece in the journal had to be 100 words or fewer, and each issue had a theme. This issue's theme was "On Memory."

This page was first displayed
on March 09, 2008

Find us on Facebook