Iowa Writes

Hard Harvest

Edith sighed and picked a load of laundry from the clothesline, a wagging Maggie close to her heels.  She longed for her bed, made up with fresh sheets that would hold autumn air in their folds. But it was October, with its unending snick and growl of the combine, and sunsets dull with cornstalk dust.

She gathered the top sheet, scratchy and cool, rucked up in her arms, and searched the clothesline for the fitted sheet.  It wasn't there.  Another piece of laundry missing. It was no wonder; the household only had time to gulp pork sandwiches and cold coffee, nothing else, nothing proper. Mail towered on the dining room table and overalls mounded in the corner, stiff with sweat. 

Maggie whined, her eyes on Edith. Edith ran her hand down Maggie's old ruff and felt the thin bones, so different from the young Maggie, who'd snatched slimy tennis balls from midair, tail plumed and proud, mouth laughing, always in the middle of a huddle of children.

Edith turned impulsively toward the shed, the dog's cold, hungry nose under her hand, and pushed past the rusted trikes and doll beds. There, near the back, lay Maggie's bed trampled into a circle by sad paws, clean but rumpled, her only comfort in an overwhelming October.

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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Jane Banning is originally from Mason City, Iowa and currently lives in Oregon, Wisconsin with her husband and son. She was a finalist in the Micro Fiction Award contest in 2008. Her work has appeared on the Daily Palette and in Six Sentences, Tuesday Shorts, Long Story Short, Birds By My Window, and The Boston Literary Magazine.

This page was first displayed
on November 27, 2009

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