Iowa Writes

For Liz in Summer

The poppies I have her grew, but California poppies
in Minnesota, so timid—but lush—with few blooms.

Nearby, bluebells, rue, pansies, hollyhocks:
introverted flowers which we loved as children,

imagined as playmates in lonely summer passions.
Never a neat garden, flowers in ordered rows

like her mother's, marching in regiment
into autumn. Instead, flowers where

they chose to grow, weeds sometimes, trees
needing tending. She required a system

chaotic as the universe, contrary as life:
desire, despair, delight; friends who asked everything;

silent, covert lovers; three daughters—their
temperament like wild flowers—willful, strong.

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


William Reichard is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently This Brightness (Mid-List Press, 2007).

This poem originally appeared in Volume 5, Number 6 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 Garden."

This page was first displayed
on September 29, 2008

Find us on Facebook