Iowa Writes

JACOB LANCASTER
the Death of a Moth


Shotguns. Feel trigger ease. Calm it sits. Calm I put my teeth on the barrel, enamel bits leaving the first & last traces of existence (eyebrows heighten, a steal tube interrupted smile.)

Balconies. Cliffs. Put feet to ledges. Lean. Imagine myself off balance. Feet waiver; heals for life, toes for weightlessness (happiness pulsing from body, staccato breath.)

Fire trucks. Garbage trucks. Semis. See them screaming, lights. See them behemoths. See them steal, rubber, rams and speed. Stay to curb and stay curbed, step to street be left text (pieces of my death, the road sprinkled.)

*

In the book of Genesis Jacob finds that his brother Esau is bringing his armies to attack him. Upon hearing this, Jacob sends his people in groups to meet Esau on his way—gifts to Esau so they can be spared. Jacob sends his wives, sons, servants, and possessions until he is left alone. An unknown man appears and wrestles Jacob until daybreak. When the man had found that he was defeated he says, "Let me go for it is daybreak."
Jacob replies, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
The man asks, "What is your name?"
Jacob replies.
The man says, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with both God and humans and you have overcome."
Israel asks the man for his name.
The man replies, "Why do you need to know my name?"

Shotguns. Feel trigger ease. Calm it sits. Calm I put my teeth on the barrel, enamel bits leaving the first & last traces of existence (eyebrows heighten, a steal tube interrupted smile.)

Balconies. Cliffs. Put feet to ledges. Lean. Imagine myself off balance. Feet waiver; heals for life, toes for weightlessness (happiness pulsing from body, staccato breath.)

Fire trucks. Garbage trucks. Semis. See them screaming, lights. See them behemoths. See them steal, rubber, rams and speed. Stay to curb and stay curbed, step to street be left text (pieces of my death, the road sprinkled.)

*

In the book of Genesis Jacob finds that his brother Esau is bringing his armies to attack him. Upon hearing this, Jacob sends his people in groups to meet Esau on his way—gifts to Esau so they can be spared. Jacob sends his wives, sons, servants, and possessions until he is left alone. An unknown man appears and wrestles Jacob until daybreak. When the man had found that he was defeated he says, "Let me go for it is daybreak."
Jacob replies, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
The man asks, "What is your name?"
Jacob replies.
The man says, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with both God and humans and you have overcome."
Israel asks the man for his name.
The man replies, "Why do you need to know my name?"

*

You pull up a chair so you can reach the counter-top. You heave a leg sideways, slink roly-poly to stand on top. Step penguin sideways; two leftways, two rightways, two leftways and back. Swing the cupboard door open; eye to eye with your ingredients. Cinnamon, salt, blue food-coloring—vinegar, sugar, baking-soda. You take your favorite blue cup (it fits your fingers so well) and combine cocktail. It's missing something. You spot an extra pickle in the fridge. Ah, you think, Perfect.
Where's Dad? You ask in your shirt so big big you don't bother with pants.
Outside, your mother replies, Hurry up. Bedtime.
Okay okay, you reply—the screen door screeching into the summer night.
Dad, you say. DAD, you say. 
Yes?
I made you this, the pickle's the stirrer.
Oh, thanks, he says.

You eye the neighbor's zapper; enticing blue neon caged in thin black wire as if its beauty were able to escape. The moths gather round, join in a communal trance.

Perhaps we will be transformed if we indulge, they sing.

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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


JACOB LANCASTER

This page was first displayed
on December 12, 2011

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