Iowa Writes

DEBRA L. HUTCHISON
Burning the Caterpillars


Caterpillars creep up our black walnut trees,
Settle in crooks of branches.
Without eyes. They crawl out of
Milky veils to eat.

A man with nine fingers
searches for dry matches,
while a stray lifts his leg
over the last red zinnia.

The screen door with silver-taped crosses
Slams. Flies cling to it like meat.
Trouble, the trees don't know.
Small fires light.

Caterpillars creep up our black walnut trees,
Settle in crooks of branches.
Without eyes. They crawl out of
Milky veils to eat.

A man with nine fingers
searches for dry matches,
while a stray lifts his leg
over the last red zinnia.

The screen door with silver-taped crosses
Slams. Flies cling to it like meat.
Trouble, the trees don't know.
Small fires light.

Pigeons on the barn roof miss
One color. Mother's dress strains
A rope nailed to a post
With its faded message.

The curling caterpillars drop.
Across the dirt road, a cat runs low
Full in her mouth, a small kitten.

Under the burning trees, I tip my cup.
And feel the ice. It hits
My lips, again and again.

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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 L. HUTCHISON

Debra L. Hutchison spent the first eighteen years of her life on a dairy farm outside of Hampton, Iowa. "Iowa has had a great deal of influence on my sensibilities as a poet," she says. She earned a MFA from Vermont College and currently teaches Introduction to Poetry and Critical Writing at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY.

This page was first displayed
on February 22, 2006

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