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Dawn Terpstra

Dawn Terpstra lives in Iowa where she leads a communications team. She produces a bi-weekly videocast of workshops and readings for the Iowa Poetry Association. Her poetry appears in current and forthcoming publications, including Midwest Review, The Night Heron Barks, Briar Cliff Review, Persimmon Tree, Citron Review, San Pedro River Review, SWWIM, Third Wednesday, Conestoga Zen, and Eastern Iowa Review. She received an honorable mention for her work in the Midwest Review’s 2021 Great Midwest Poetry Contest. Her chapbook, Songs from the Summer Kitchen, is forthcoming in September from Finishing Line Press.

Violet Near the Water

My mother is a fish.
– William Faulkner

Five words slip silver-scaled
upon the page
their weight buoyed by a bobber

floating down an ice-jammed
river or rising
waters with spring rain. I can’t

navigate rushing currents of the past
what is-or-was
when I look at your eyes swimming

small and red-rimmed, the blue
of sunlit summers
drained, a pool where shadows

of children once darted. Let me
feed you soft-words
while you hunger, pull you each day

into the air while you can still breathe
your own luminous mother-name.
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