Iowa Writes

"Amber Waves of Grain"

Thunder rolls along here like a particularly audible hunger pang. There's nothing to stand in its way—it simply gurgles from one edge of the sky to the other. That, or it weighs low around the horizon, vibrating the seams. I guess it is the real sound of thunder, uncontaminated by a chorus of echoes: skyscrapers and sidewalks and city blocks, bouncing the sound around like more of a man-made panic.

I have been thinking a lot about natural since I've moved to the Midwest. Qualities attributed to the pastoral: open, honest, devout. Of course I am a human, so adaptation is optional. If I wanted to make things hard on myself, I could continue feigning anonymity—stomping down the hill to my house as though the earth's crust was hermetically paved—ignoring the river—interpreting the thunder as a warning.

It's game day today and I can actually sense the increase in psychic energy on this side of town. That, or maybe it's the lightning, or the reverberating loudspeaker, or the jolt of the memory of being woken up in the dead of the night by young men chanting all the lyrics to America the Beautiful. Or perhaps I am feeling keyed in after reading the news article which reported two mountain lion sightings on the west side of town. I just don't know which is more alien to me: camaraderie over the human athlete or against a four-legged beast, arcing sky and racing weather or vibrating concrete, land that's been covered and sealed or land that's been tilled under again and again.

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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Olivia Dunn is an MFA candidate at the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program. She is a graduate of Albany High School and Boston University, where she studied self-defense and film, respectively. You can read more at, where she keeps a blog of observational micro-essays about her immediate surroundings.

Olivia Dunn's website

This page was first displayed
on December 07, 2012

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