Iowa Writes


phase number two. nightmares, etc.

i have lived in other worlds. there are at least four available to me, to attempt a preliminary inventory. one is made of streets, houses, schools, offices, buses, sidewalks, lawns and everything else there—i would say 'people' if the bomb hadn't just exterminated every living thing.

the others open at random.

ex: there i am, walking down a sidewalk in world number one. there are the shop-windows, the mothers and the passersby, the bus stops, people working, dogs pissing, and so on. then a panther suddenly appears and jumps onto the hood of a car right next to me. it watches me walk, aims its muzzle at me and gets ready to pounce, to corner me. i see its yellow eyes, the glints on its black, shiny fur, i hear the low growl rising from its stomach. i see and hear it just like i see and hear the jerk honking at the traffic light. i know, however, that it has come from world number two. at the beginning it was almost always animals, and not only felines: eagles, wolves, hyenas, snakes, and polyps, sharks, orcas, all indifferent to the change of environment.

world number three is different. there are objects, knives mostly, or disasters: explosions, earthquakes, floods, tidal waves. objects and disasters can interact: ex. raining nails.

most frightening is the next world, that of the mutilated bodies. mine, almost always, preferably mine, mangled, chopped, hanged, buried alive, skinned, dissected, etc. it happens—rarely, but it does happen—that others are the ones to fall under the blows of the hatchet.

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


Jamie Richards holds an MFA in literary translation from the University of Iowa and is currently pursuing a doctorate in comparative literature at the University of Oregon. Her latest translation is Giacomo Papi's Booked: The Last 150 Years Told Through Mug Shots (Seven Stories Press). This and other excerpts from Giancarlo Pastore's Meduse were first published alongside the original Italian in the Spring 2005 issue of eXchanges.

eXchanges Journal of Literary Translation

This page was first displayed
on July 22, 2006

Find us on Facebook