Iowa Writes

DEBRA MARQUART
Riding Shotgun through Iowa with Quest


this musician's life.
play until one,
pack up, get paid.
send the dancers
home drunk, sweaty
clinging to each other.
on the long way home
I ride shotgun with Quest
helping keep watch
over the night. our talk
turns to women and
death, what Quest calls
all things inevitable.
he is not so afraid
of the final embrace
as the moment before,
the arms stretched out
to us, the looking into
the eyes of it. in the dead
of this night, we agree
to trust it, the good faith
of this road running
beneath us. I tell him how
this place is like my home,
where every night
vapor lights burn
in yards, and every morning
farmers rise at dawn to milk
the cows. not for me
that life. in a family
of settlers, I was
the immigrant.

this musician's life.
play until one,
pack up, get paid.
send the dancers
home drunk, sweaty
clinging to each other.
on the long way home
I ride shotgun with Quest
helping keep watch
over the night. our talk
turns to women and
death, what Quest calls
all things inevitable.
he is not so afraid
of the final embrace
as the moment before,
the arms stretched out
to us, the looking into
the eyes of it. in the dead
of this night, we agree
to trust it, the good faith
of this road running
beneath us. I tell him how
this place is like my home,
where every night
vapor lights burn
in yards, and every morning
farmers rise at dawn to milk
the cows. not for me
that life. in a family
of settlers, I was
the immigrant.
fixing my eye
on the horizon
setting myself to reel
madly across
this continent. flying
through Iowa, past
cornfields and silos,
the two-storied houses
our dancers have gone
to sleep in, I doze,
wake, doze, to find Quest,
hands on the wheel
trying to outdistance
the road. five a.m.
passing a farmyard
I see my father out
to do the morning chores.
his shadow, bending
to pet the dog becomes
my brother. this is the time
of accidents, the ones
we'll never see.
we pass through
knowing that soon
the sun will show
its awful face, that soon
even our headlights
will be worthless.

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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 iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


DEBRA MARQUART

Debra Marquart is a professor of English at Iowa State University. Her work has appeared in numerous journals. "Riding Shotgun through Iowa with Quest" first appeared in her collection Everything's a Verb (New Rivers Press, 1995) and was reprinted in Voices on the Landscape: Contemporary Iowa Poets, edited by Michael Carey (Loess Hills Books, 1996).

This page was first displayed
on December 06, 2007

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