Iowa Writes

Our Grandparents' Diaries

Hers were large sprawling letters
scattered with abandon
across page upon page of
sunsets, lakeside strolls and bhajans richly sung
His were well-behaved columns
carefully maintained accounts of
daily expenditures and earnings
Don't get personal in diaries
he advised us, you never know
whose hands they'll fall into
Now that they've fallen into ours
we voyeur-grandchildren
flip through and discover
on a trip to a Varanasi temple
our grandmother spent three hours
in the meditation chamber and
never felt closer to God
while grandfather lost fifty rupees to a pickpocket
and paid two to have their shoes minded
at the temple gates.

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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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 17, 2008

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