Hot Tin Roof: Sun in an empty room

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 Connor Madigan

Hadley said that was the hardest part of packing — jiggling those damn curtain rods from their little homes without scratching the paint off the windowsill, saving the new owners’ floor from a salt shaker’s shake worth of flaked away oil-based eggshell chips.

I thought the hardest part was hoofing end tables out to the truck bed or negotiating with Hadley about the decorative pillow legion we had raised over the years. Or, maybe, the hardest part was not burning the house to the foundation in our wake, like a pair of wanderlustful cowpokes backlit by their own private sun, in search of the next dusty burg, the next watering hole where insects paddle on the surface and Hadley can dig her toes into bottom-mud.

But in the truck — after we didn’t burn the old house down — Hadley wondered if the sun would come through the window in our new place like it did at the old. I knew what she meant. How a solid wall of sunlight squeezed through the curtain’s lacey gaps, smearing swirls and swells, composed of light and lack of light, on a bare wall.

That was hard, too.  Hadley and I used to spend Sunday mornings in bed, marking our time together by tracking the sun-mural’s motion. It disintegrated and bloomed across the room — never the same — until the rays spilled over the bed, tattooing our two bodies with a single mystic pattern.



Connor Madigan was raised in Massachusetts, schooled in Iowa and dives in the Mariana Trench when he needs to get away from it all. This piece published in collaboration with earthwords, the University of Iowa’s original undergraduate literary review.

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Deadline: June 30, 2015

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