Iowa Writes

What beauty cannot have

You're not quite handsome       
which I like
I wish you would come to me
I want us to compare
I want our ugly to match

I want you to see the orange/blue contrast
I wish you got that blood turns brown
that pressure makes it feel better
that today I had frozen yogurt and then a pumpkin latté

You say you don't mind excess
But do you hate a big body like they do?
Do you get confused between beauty and contempt?
Do you get that it's not the clouds that take shape but the sky behind it?
Do you get that ugly is the space beauty cannot take
no matter how hard it tries.

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


Elizabeth Oshrin Parker is a PhD candidate in the University of Iowa's Couple and Family Therapy program.

This page was first displayed
on February 04, 2015

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