Iowa Writes

KATHARINE MONGER
"Sinking"


       "Stillness, for her, was not a retreat from life
                             but a form of control."
                —Lyndall Gordon on Emily Dickinson


My apartment living room floor is
sinking:
a crack in the beam beneath
couch cushions once white,
now grey,
and every day I find more bobby pins
wedged between the pillows. 
An ache behind my ears,
behind my eyes,
my eyelashes
spasming, the rhythm of my
quaking apartment. 
Pins wedged in the grey matter
of my brain, in the grey matter
of my couch, corners of
grey carpet, grey walls.

Here we are, she said.

       "Stillness, for her, was not a retreat from life
                             but a form of control."
                —Lyndall Gordon on Emily Dickinson


My apartment living room floor is
sinking:
a crack in the beam beneath
couch cushions once white,
now grey,
and every day I find more bobby pins
wedged between the pillows. 
An ache behind my ears,
behind my eyes,
my eyelashes
spasming, the rhythm of my
quaking apartment. 
Pins wedged in the grey matter
of my brain, in the grey matter
of my couch, corners of
grey carpet, grey walls.

Here we are, she said.

I've discovered
recently.
I've recently discovered.
Recently I've
discovered that the
shaking and the sinking
and the aching
of my eyelashes, my nervous
nerve-wracking eyelashes lashing
against my chalky skin 
(I'm aging,
I can feel it—every cup of
coffee denied,
every cigarette half-smoked—
when did I become my mother?)
is merely my dryer,
and my neighbor's dryer, and
his neighbor's dryer. 
We dry our clothes in electric boxes;
we dry our hairs with electric guns;
we dry our eyes with electric happiness,
until the power goes out.

Here we are, she said.

The power went out
in my apartment yesterday. 
Lit a candle, cut my finger on
chipped glass. 

Stillness. 

Here we are drinking
on opposite sides of town
.

And I held my breath until my
fingers shook, because I
wasn't ready for stillness,
yet.

Just remember that.

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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


KATHARINE MONGER

Katharine Monger is a senior English major at the University of Iowa with roots in western Pennsylvania, northeastern Tennessee, and southeastern Iowa.  She writes short fiction, non-fiction, plays, and screenplays, but never poetry without the modifier "prose" (or does she?). She loves sushi, hates socks, and is most definitely a dog person.

This page was first displayed
on April 04, 2013

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