Iowa Writes


What is certainty?
            trapped between
                    awake     asleep       insomnia     paralysis   dreams

What is perceived?
            sounds invade
                    meows   heaters     car alarms   sighs         silence

What is memory?
            repeated reality
                    panic       hands         shiver           running     stillness

When the lights dim,
            moments before the fall
                          the vulnerable state
                                      teetering on the edge
                                                  unable to surrender
                                                              unable to retreat
                                                                          jolted back into focus
                                                                                        safe from nightmares that await.

Deluded that reality,
exist in separation.
Inspired to relive
mundane moments
in the realm beyond
creating replicas in our nightly sojourns.
Paralyzed by the ambiguity
that what is buried deep within
won't surface,
suffocate us,
stifle our ability to distinguish
dream from awake.

                          they say          he says         she says            I say

Never do I believe that what I dream
isn't as real as what I live.

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


Michelle Cantwell is an English teacher in Denver, where she also takes classes through Lighthouse Writers.  She has attended the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and is working on a young adult novel, but poetry is her passion.

This page was first displayed
on June 11, 2014

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