Iowa Writes

Elegy for the Builder's Wife

Slow build, houses where thousands live,
skeletons of houses without roofs, without walls, 

houses like strange bones rising along red paths
we've always walked but will not walk again—

these are like sheets that will never feel the skin,
the white silences made most desperate 

amongst so many indistinct voices,
when her red throat gently closes up.

In her hands the geraniums shake like railroads,
the plaster skin of walls becomes unattached

and a great wave draws back, making naked
the unknown earth beneath the sea, only

to close it off again.  We are the builders
trembling under a bridge, pouring the gray rock

as her death calls through the din,
and he remembers nothing but what he whims.

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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Nick Courtright, an Ohio native, currently resides in Austin, Texas. In his spare time he teaches composition at Texas State University, and his poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Court Green, The Literary Review, Zone 3, Caketrain, and Diagram.

"Elegy for the Builder's Wife" 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 June 12, 2008

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