Hot Tin Roof: In the house of birds

Hot Tin Roof
Hot Tin Roof is a program to showcase current literary work produced in Iowa City. The series is organized and juried by representatives of three Iowa City-based cultural advocacy organizations: The Englert Theatre, Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature and Little Village magazine.
By Jen Rouse

walls quiver.
Her fingers
flutter at her ruby
throat. And every room
has a pedestaled bath,
where delicate finches
dip tiny beaks, while
hawks hang like bats
from birch chandeliers.
Why am I here, she wonders
again. Her hollow womb,
her spindly ankles? Oh,
yes, of course,
her head. “Hummingbird,”
they said, when she told
them she craved nectar
and couldn’t sit still.
“Sanctuary,” they said
when she stopped sleeping
and plucked the feathers
from her crown.

Not all birds sing
Some spend all day
constructing meticulous
nests. Others plumping
elaborate plumage.
personalities,” hummed
the pigeon, as he hopped
upon her bed.
she whispered,
but her legs

Jen Rouse works as a consulting librarian at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, IA. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Poet Lore, MadHat Lit and Trapeze. Her play, Honey Song, recently found a home in the Underground New Play Festival at Theatre Cedar Rapids.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene


Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.


Wed, Oct. 23, 2019

Hilton Garden Inn Iowa City Downtown University at 7:15 a.m. (program starts at 7:30 a.m.)

Keynote address by Dr. Melissa Shivers
Vice President for Student Life
University of Iowa

Buy Ticketes

(No tickets sold at the door)

2019 Award Honorees

Jesse Case
Elizabeth Bernal
Angie Jordan (South District Neighborhood Association)
Inside Out Reentry
Matthew Farrey
Kevin Sanders


VOTER’S GUIDE for the 2019 Johnson County Elections

Mark your calendar! Local elections for City Council and School Board on November 5, 2019. Polls are open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.