Iowa Writes

The Age of Heirlooms

Father, in his garden with a flashlight
starting the tiller, has reached

the age of doling out heirlooms:
advent calendar, china cabinet, couch

saturate my empty house.
I dream his death

scrounge his strawberries, apples, rhubarb
and wake out of time

for him. His namesake, lifted
to father's grandfather-lap, rides:

side-saddled lady, slowly swayed cowboy,
tremor-trotted gentleman

falls into the horse, flanks
split in two. We leave. Dakota

drips, dampest of springs
to date; pavement shines,

parts of lakes gumbo
closing in behind. Beneath

fallow gardens await
direct sun and heart-shaped seed.

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 22, 2009

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