Iowa Writes

Mountain Side

My giant fingers seem to touch the mountain surface in the picture, seem to feel the edges of cutaway stone: smooth, small surfaces, edges, corners, grooves. Farther down the slope, I feel moss in the crevices and, once, my fingers dip into a little well of snow. Pulling back...zooming out to my true size, our positions are reversed, the mountain incredibly large and I incredibly small. The surface I touched mentally with my fingers, I can not even cover with my entire body, with my family's bodies strewn out across the face of the mountain, even if all aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews lay down with me, their coats flapping in the wind. My five-year-old son, small and yet so alive and large to me here at home, might lay his cheek against the smallest of smooth surfaces on this giant rock that has no memory of him, in whose memory he is just a drop of water, some grain of would pass, then nothing, then wind...the wind lifting the thin reddish strands of my daughter's hair where she can never keep a clip tucked into it. In fact, she would pull it off while lying on the enormous protrusion of the earth, the valley dizzying below her and sky above and behind and beneath her, on three sides. I worry that she might think she could let go and leap out into this blue sky as if it were part of one of her drawings, that she might think she would safely land on something soft like a cloud, like me. I know she would cry for me, as she often does in unfamiliar situations—her instincts intact. With two little arms pulling around my neck, she would hug my face, and I would feel the round, ripe cheek, softer than peach and more elastic, pressed against my kissing lips.

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


Caroline Ledeboer has been published elsewhere online at and has a poem forthcoming in Sentence, Volume 6. She is currently at work revising a historical children's novel and recording a third CD with the pop-folk musical group, Eacret and Ledeboer ( She lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with her husband, Al Eacret and two kids, Carson and Willa.

This page was first displayed
on April 13, 2008

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