Iowa Writes

Coming Out of the Attic

Coming out of the attic scared and all alone
Silence fills throughout the house, I hope nobody's home
I don't want anyone to see the dirty shame I carry
I must go and wash it off, I must go now and hurry
The folks will be coming home soon from work all hot and
If they knew what was happening, the babysitter would surely      be fired
I cannot tell a single soul for fear a deadly ending be
I am threatened it wouldn't just happen to them, but also      happen to me
So deep inside I hide my secrets and all the smothering fear
To protect the ones I love and hold so close and dear
Although I'm 46 years old now and safe away in prison
These threats still sound clear to me along with memory's      vision
Someday I hope to share openly to help save, the next      generation's victims
And assure them that they needn't hide and feel as week as      me because when we
speak out against those that abuse us only then will we be free

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.

Find out more about submitting by contacting


Donnetta was a prisoner at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women when she wrote this piece, which was read during a public performance in Shambaugh Auditorium by the Women in Exile Project.

The Women in Exile Project is a collaboration between the women at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women, volunteers from the Women's Resource and Action Center, the Women's Archive at the University of Iowa Libraries and the Art Education Department at the University of Iowa. The project has worked with a select group of women at ICIW to publish a series of memoirs and images. The memoirs will become a part of the Women's Archive and the images part of a permanent collection located at the Women's Resource and Action Center.

UI Change Project Blog

This page was first displayed
on March 07, 2011

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