The Blog

Our Favorite Actress

Michael Judge

We are, in a public setting, comforted
by the lack of expectations 

until something awful happens,
an accident, someone choking 

on a peach pit, for example.
Or worse, something intentional 

but entirely unexpected, inappropriate,
the indiscriminate shooting of passengers 

on a train, for example. We get sleepy
in public. We fall asleep in the audience, 

lulled by the comfort of coughs,
laughter, the crowd breathing in and out. 

It all feels so civilized until
our favorite character, played 

by our favorite actress, falls
face-first into the orchestra pit. 

The show continues with no understudy.
Death grants us a private audience.

 

Diagnosis

William Brewer

I stepped out of the doctor’s office and felt confused.
Or not confused so much as stunned,
and not because she said I was heading straight for death,
which I was already well aware of, and which she knew I knew,
making her telling me anyways irksome, like getting served a drink
that looks like your drink but is the wrong drink, you’re nearly certain of it,
but not completely, so you keep drinking it, knowing it isn’t yours,
each sip further confirming this fact, and this is what you get
for not trusting your instincts, you think, you deserve
to drink this drink that is not what you wanted,
not what you would ever want,
but it’s her job, I guess. 

Team Keep Sleep

Lauren Haldeman

This is my first draft and I join team ‘Keep Sleep.’ 
My number is behind me on my uniform.
On occasion I feel the iron-on plastic’s curve 

and it feels like an eight. I might be an eight.
Our jerseys are off-white; our symbol is a pile
of fingernail clippings, slightly turned 

to the left. A lawsuit requires this.
If shown from above, the pile too closely
resembles the symbol for ‘breath.’ 

Our team colors are tooth white & brain-
white and diamond. Our cheer goes
like gin down our followers’ throats. 

Tomorrow, we play the team ‘Recall of Elephants’
who supposedly compete with their eyes fully closed.
On their uniforms they’ve scribbled 

the text of team movements in layers of grey pencil
on light parchment gear. It is said
they remember. It is said if shucked open 

THE IOWA REVIEW launches new writing contest in honor of editor emeritus David Hamilton

TIR Staff

To honor the editorship, mentorship, and friendship of David Hamilton, who was editor of The Iowa Review for more than 30 years, we are pleased to announce the David Hamilton Prize for Iowa Review Alumni, launching in 2017 and continuing biennially. 

In the spirit of David Hamilton’s support and encouragement of his students and their writing, anyone who has ever worked for The Iowa Review, whether as paid staff or volunteer reader, and whose name is listed as such on the masthead of any back issue of the magazine is eligible to enter the contest. 

The prize will be $1,000 and publication in The Iowa Review. The winner will be selected by the current editor of The Iowa Review.

Air Signs

Tim Taranto

The hot water was out

with the dark of a new

moon when you dreamed 

of drawing a hot

bath; I got pots going

on all burners, watched 

broths fill with fish

eyes; I carried each 

boiling sacrament 

to you with dish rags

swaddled around

the handles, careful 

not to scald

a wrist, tops 

of my feet, or trip

on the stairs, 

but composed,

also, hurrying

slowly as an acolyte 

at altar; I poured in

one and then another,

the steam rose

blooming condensation 

on my lenses; you stood

on your clothes — they

looked conquered

as a molted skin,

black crescent 

under your feet; Our Lady

of flowers pressed

on the apron of a beggar;

downstairs, I

didn't hear you

enter the kitchen 

over the seething

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