Iowa Writes

The Dead

The dead may not be as dead as you think they are.
Or perhaps you donít think that at all, or 
have never thought about it. In any case,
it doesnít matter to the dead. Theyíre not ruled
by how you think, though you may be ruled by them, in ways
you may not have thought possible. Or maybe
itís your dog who rules you, wonít let you go on
with your poem until youíve scratched her head, and
behind her ears. Now which is preferable, as a 
sovereign, that is, your dog, or the dead? Either way,
youíre not going to get the poem done, and at least the dead
may know things you can use once you get back to it,
but so may your dog, who may in fact be the dead,
reincarnated, if only the soul of your last dog.

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


Tad Richards has an MA from the Iowa Workshop (1963) and remains spiritually connected to those roots. His poem about Donald Justice was included in The Iowa Review's tribute issue.

Tad Richards's website

This page was first displayed
on November 22, 2006

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