Iowa Writes

NELL REGAN
"Iowa City Sestina"


The town is stitched by river—
that finds and winds its way through trees
whose leaves curl yellow—and every poem
is found to contain it, them, and cicada
call. Perhaps they too stand for longing
forded by an imagined Atlantic bridge.


Outside my window the bridge
of green, wrought iron spans the river
asks what is there to miss? It will not be long
love, till you find me under this tree
straining to describe the cicada
song that is shot through this poem.

The town is stitched by river—
that finds and winds its way through trees
whose leaves curl yellow—and every poem
is found to contain it, them, and cicada
call. Perhaps they too stand for longing
forded by an imagined Atlantic bridge.


Outside my window the bridge
of green, wrought iron spans the river
asks what is there to miss? It will not be long
love, till you find me under this tree
straining to describe the cicada
song that is shot through this poem.


Each avenue of the city, a walking poem
of considered views that yield to bridges
over which the chatter and clatter of cicada
curls and pulls time forward in a river-
ing flow while leaf considers tree
and the blue reflection of sky is longing


for river just as water is longing
for color much as word years for poem
or its echo in a lover's ear. The tree
stands alone, says desire less, bridge
with what you have here and the river
will carry to you all the cicada


pulse and call of a continent. Wish cicada
tymbal on the banks of all Iowas along
the Mississippi as it rivers
out through prairie, plain, and poem.


The pitched sough of the train that bridges
the night, freights stories of cornfield, of oak tree


to the city's gridded morning where trees
anoint the grass with shade, students read, cicada
conversations fade. Later, stepping to the bridge
the Capitol dome will throw its gold reflection, elong-
ating the reach of a September dusk where a poem
or thought might constellate. Deep in the river


open-mouthed carp gape up at trees, long
branches pooling on its ceiling while cicada-poem
clicks, calls forth a silent bridge to span the river.

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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


NELL REGAN

Nell Regan is a Dublin-based poet. Her previous collections include Preparing for Spring and Bound for Home. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Residence at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in the fall of 2011.

"Iowa City Sestina" is from the latest issue of The Iowa Review (Spring 2013; 43.1).

This page was first displayed
on May 09, 2013

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