Iowa Writes

"Time and Distance Overcome" (Part 3 of 4)

My grandfather was a lineman. He broke his back when a telephone pole fell. "Smashed him onto the road," my father says.

When I was young, I believed that the arc and swoop of telephone wires along the roadways were beautiful. I believed that the telephone poles, with their glass transformers catching the evening sun, were glorious. I believed my father when he said, "My dad could raise a pole by himself." And I believed that the telephone itself was a miracle. Now, I tell my sister, these poles, these wires do not look the same to me. Nothing is innocent, my sister reminds me. But nothing, I would like to think, remains unrepentant. One summer, heavy rains fell in Nebraska and some green telephone poles grew leafy branches.

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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Eula Biss is the author of The Balloonists (Hanging Loose, 2002). She teaches nonfiction writing at Northwestern University and is co-editor of Essay Press. "Time and Distance Overcome" is included in Notes from No Man's Land (Graywolf, 2009) which won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award.

"Time and Distance Overcome" appears in Discoveries: New Writing from The Iowa Review (Spring 2012).

"Time and Distance Overcome" is an essay that will appear on the Daily Palette in four installments.  To read the previous installments, please visit the following links:  Eula Biss, Part 1, Eula Biss, Part 2.

This page was first displayed
on July 18, 2013

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