Iowa Writes

Our Four-Mile Garden

Except for 1954, Eden couldn't match our garden,
meandering beside Four-Mile Creek like best friends.
Wide enough for three homes, our Iowa patch
stretched out in a shade blacker than licorice.

Each year, Mother, the clown at school fairs, planted
surprises. The best: peanuts. I loved those chewy
nuts. Second best: sunflowers, bigger than Mom's
washtubs on stalks we knew led to giants with golden

In 1954 Four-Mile flooded, drowning our rainbow of
peppers and sun-yellow tomatoes with silt, city-
condemned and stinky. Mother said, "We still have
our inner garden," as we created hollyhock dolls and
smelled roses.

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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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 June 15, 2009

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