Iowa Writes

Prayer for the Underground Supplicant

Remember old flowers cast in your rustling arms, 
liverwurst wrapped in newspaper, one blistering pound . . . 

or the moon's cracked birch bark
frail as a dollar on a blind woman's face, pale hydrangea

shredded and falling in rare archives, a paper subway
in a supplicant's underground darkness, swaying,

and a melanin-rich flower in this fluorescent tube
translocating water to and from unassailable air.

This is your graduated body, no ordinary 
engine in the night.

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


Karen An-hwei Lee's first book-length collection, In Medias Res, won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize from Sarabande books and the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award. 

"Prayer for the Underground Supplicant" appears in the current (Spring 2008) issue of The Iowa Review, a literary magazine based at the University of Iowa. Founded in 1970, The Iowa Review has been edited by David Hamilton since 1978.

Iowa Review site

This page was first displayed
on October 01, 2008

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