Iris Law, Pt. 1 rain pearling my gut like sweat,

For each day of National Poetry Month one of our fellows will explore the breadth of poetry in three ways: through a question from another fellow, through a poem and through a writing prompt, #writetoday.


Eugenia Leigh asks, What is a yet-to-be-realized desire of yours as it pertains to writing? (e.g. a topic you have not yet explored in your poetry/prose but have wanted to explore or a different kind of life-circumstance risk you have not yet taken?)

Iris Law responds, I’d love to try writing a series inspired by Christian scripture and liturgy (a book of hours, of sorts). And it would be fun to extend my women scientist project (from my chapbook) to include contemporary women in STEM. Secretly, though, what I’d really love is to complete a long-form piece: a long poem, a hybrid novel, a book-length narrative series, a play. I have a short attention span and have trouble sustaining long arcs or complex threads. I’m terrible at projects that require attention to the big picture, but good at honing in on tiny details. My poems have always been short, and I tend to whittle them down even more through obsessive revision. But someday, I’d like to struggle through seeing a longer project to completion. I think it would help me to address a lot of my fears about what I can and can’t do as a writer.


A poem is like a kiss,

like the darting of pupils
just past the tips of one’s lashes
mid breath: too close, too quick,

the shadow of thought
too thick on one’s shoulders
to justify sight. I close my eyes

and listen to you recite—
to your mouth gently lipping
the tail of each word,

the soft fry of vowels
smoldering in the folds
of your throat. I can hear

a world in there, epiglottal
behind the dark-wet sheen
of each consonant’s strike.

You speak, and the warm
flush of sound pulses, light,
at the base of my ears.

You look at me with the pitch
of those ball-peen eyes
and the weather moves through me,

rain pearling my gut like sweat,
high-gale gusts exhuming
the breath from my lungs.



Iris A. Law is the author of a chapbook, Periodicity, and a founding editor of Lantern Review.