Iowa Writes

To North and South

You seemed for so long the inseam of my jeans as I stood between a park and the water and felt no direction in it, in my standing there or when I was a young girl and let wind pull to get rest. At which point I was rediscovered. When I looked for you I would always fix my gaze on a point above the mouth of a stranger. I would face toward the Mississippi and wonder what could cross it these days. In Missouri, in "The Civil Defense" caves, I thought to myself I live in a world where I can rub against you, you a crucifix and religion. It was in this cave I first taught myself about god, and which way to look. You had run away from home, to the cave where you demonstrated the precision with which you cut for yourself our land.  Those days I had no hand-eye coordination, nor desire to handle a blade. Often you could be seen in the night near the water tower. Here once you got brave and traced telephone poles, let wires hang among us, they make us innumerable, agile. Swung them to each side, said wingspan. Said below you we abandon eyesight, let it drop. Below we too are small fractions of sidewalk in an easterly town where everything built is slant and too close to sidewalks. You thought rezoning meant turning out your pockets. But boy did you know how to tie a knot. I looked like hell sitting in the dirt there at your feet as you shaved seconds off your time. You said build me a map. I pressed my hands in the dirt and shook, shook cities and streets (dirt roads) we called them motorways for safety and between every other city, the roads, we drew them straight for the airplanes. In case of emergency. In case of an emergency, I pressed our towns in deep with my thumbs, my fingernails. You called out to me lost there in the sudden shift of dust.

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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Lindsay Bland grew up in Coralville, Iowa and attended The University of Iowa as an undergraduate. She currently lives and teaches in Missoula, Montana where she is a second-year MFA candidate in the University of Montana's Creative Writing Program.

This page was first displayed
on January 15, 2009

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