Iowa Writes

Helen's Shore

Out there there's something worth seeing, she thinks looking out over the sea. There's an island to the north, the Anguillan coast, a coastline narrower and smaller than her own. Out there, beyond that island, and beyond the next island, and the next one after that, and on and on, there's something there for me. She has convinced herself. There's nothing left for her here. She feels her island shrinking on all sides, declaring itself unfit for her body, her body unfit for it. She sits atop the sand, all those brilliant white grains cascading and lapping in the wind, and she sees her brilliantly dark skin strike brilliant contrasts with each scattering grain, each scattering grain a world in itself, a world she visits each time she curls her bare toes into the grainy earth. Looking over the water the light blinds, the way the sun blinds anywhere between its farthest east and west axes. And that brief blindness is liberating. Even as she looks away, all is foreign in the dotted black-brightness, and not even her body looks to be her own. She's new in these moments. Washed clean for a moment. And she holds her breath, and the sea is gone, the island air of fruit and dusty roads all gone. Free of all feeling, but for the warmth of the inescapable sun — even at night the heat blows over the sea and into the villages and through the cottage shutters.

And even then she knows that there's more out there:  Out there, there's something more.

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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Keanan Faruq currently resides in Iowa City where he's completing an MFA at the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program.  He sorely misses all of the places he's never been and regrets never writing all of the things he's never written.  One day he hopes to find true happiness in the most unexpected of places.

Helen's Shore is the third in a series of three poems.  If you missed the first two, you can find them here and here.

This page was first displayed
on October 16, 2015

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