Iowa Writes

The Song

The milk is mildly foxed. The sky, too, is mildly foxed. And it is wonderful to see the dexterity with which the dark beak hangs on, although it too, is mildly foxed. As are the woods. As is the fox. We are all mildly foxed. Even Mama is mildly foxed.

When Mama fell in love with the ornithologist she began to sneak from the house at night and return with her pockets full of water lettuce, feathers, bits of nest. She began to save electricity. She began to like certain people. The ornithologist, according to the papers, spoke in a mischievous language and had a beard. The ornithologist, according to Mama, knew exactly how he made her feel. "Like a mildly foxed apricot!" she would say, swinging me around by the hips. She would hold me up to the light. She would kiss me on the neck. She would put me down. Over and over again. For hours. It is true that jealousy is what brought me to spy on Mama that night. I too wanted to feel like a mildly foxed apricot. I too wanted to like certain people. It was February. I wore a blouse with large red pockets. Although Mama had already lost me as a mother, what happened is still difficult to say. I saw Mama. I saw the ornithologist. I followed them to the green balcony where he cut for her a loaf of bread with a large pair of scissors. I could hear through his mischievous language. He had a plan. To get rid of all the birds, he said. All the mildly foxed birds. He called it end low song. He sang it softly.

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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Sabrina Orah Mark received her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2001. "The Song" is from 12 x 12: Conversations in 21st-Century Poetry and Poetics, edited by Christina Mengert and Joshua Marie Wilkinson.

Established in 1969 and housed in the historic Kuhl House, the oldest house still standing in Iowa City, the University of Iowa Press publishes scholarly books and a wide variety of titles that will appeal to general readers. As the only university press in the state, it is dedicated to preserving the literature, history, culture, wildlife, and natural areas of the region.

UIowa Press

This page was first displayed
on March 13, 2009

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