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Jenne' Andrews is an American poet. She has three published chapbooks including the recent Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, Finishing Line Press 2013.

A full-length collection, Reunion, Lynx House Press, was published in 1983; after a long hiatus to raise Golden Retrievers in Colorado, recent work has appeared in The Passionate Transitory, Belletrist Coterie, The Adirondack Review and Vox Populi, a journal of culture, politics and poetry published and edited by the august Michael Simms.

A bilingual collection of "Italiana," Bocca, Voce, Delirio, with translations by Lorenzo Luciani, will be released by Finishing Line at the end of 2016 and her latest collection, And Now, the Road, a finalist for the Autumn House prize in 2014, will be released by Salmon Poetry Ltd, Ireland, a highly regarded international house, Jessie Lendennie, Publisher, circa 2017.

Andrews holds the MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Colorado State University, is a literary fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, and was full-time Poet in Residence for the St. Paul Schools from '74-78. She lived in St. Paul from 1971-78 during the first wave of the Twin Cities literary renaissance, and spent the summer of 1973 in Reggio Calabria, Italy.

The poet lives in northern Colorado's Poudre River Valley with her husband, fiction writer Jack Brooks; the couple has recently imported two British Golden Retrievers and expects a litter in June-- see the Ardorgold website for details. Contact: jenneandrews2010@gmail.com .

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Prose-Poem: Five Fathoms, for DVerse and Beyond...



Five Fathoms

Frieda’s calf slips from her in a surge of rose-colored blood.  He hits the earth and lies still as a boot.  She strokes him with her python trunk; his lungs stay folded like a split concertina.

She trumpets elephant alarm to the harem of cows, sentinel ghost ships in captivity's black.  No one comes, no one runs in.  Ponderous in her love, she pulls back one redwood of a leg, kicks the calf like someone putting a cue ball in the pocket; he lands against a cement block.  She sends her ear-splitting cry like the wolves in their hunger folly out into the night; her mouth is a terrified wound. 

She lifts his trunk with her own; at last he gasps and lies stretched out,  panting.  The cows bow to her from the stage apron; she has brought him to life, his humped rubbery body in the wet.

She curls her trunk in triumph and then nudges him up, up;  he clambers to his stubby legs and splay-walks then, one tentative picket-toed foot after the next.  They go into the good dark of the herd. 

ii

I lie in the warm water singing the hymn of the new mother, my calf lodged at the gate of my body, her wet round head crowning.  I pull her down and up, and into my arms; she is water-blue and then pink.  Her tiny mouth works and her face becomes the o of a cry.  Birth angels gather in the dark. 

What else does the maternal dark hide?  The farrowing foxes, vixen biting the cords down to the stub.  The small kits at her belly, tugging out the milk, the wild cries in the night, the heart seared, the milk surging in the breast, the birth cry behind the front lines, ascendant and holy.

iii

Candlelight makes a noose around my neck pulling me toward you. We wind down together like two pocket watches in our chairs, the lopsided candle flickering.  We are tallow.  O hour of paraffin, the veering light with its tiny lyric of smoke.  I try to pry open the walnut of your silences,

for I know that within you have sailed around the world.  I want to see what you saw; whales, off the coast of Newfoundland.  Christ descended, in the grotto.  Sweet the night's kiss of shadow.  We need a blue bowl of apples here, to flare up.  What a bad idea it was to exhume anyone sleeping there.  They rise up, crows in excoriation, flying up between us, against the throbbing globe of the sun.

iv

The orphaned elephant and her keeper slumber in straw; sun kisses the savannah; the lioness ranges, drops the gazelle fawn before her young.  Out on the campfires of time we  taste blood.  When you forgive me I bite my lip, for the rich ripe taste of salt.

Five fathoms down I rise, gyrate in place to soft music, retire to my room and lift each leg ten times.  I will never be whole again.  Wind stirs the Styrofoam panels over the windows but there is no keeping out the blades of day.  I see the mother elephant delivering herself of her calf.  More, that the slung mare out on the field that pulled into herself refusing food and water has dropped her foal.  Here in the room’s blue absence, all the dried and dusky flowers, petals crumbling to ash.



copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2012

5 comments:

Daydreamertoo said...

I've seen them give birth on TV but it is never the same as watching it in real life. You gave such detailed insight it was almost like seeing it, feeling it, knowing it. I'm glad the first one survived. Animals seem to know instinctively what they need to do, too.
Gripping read!

Brian Miller said...

wow...what an intriguing blend of moments...the sex, the birth...great intentional use of language through out to set the tone as well jenne...his humped rubbery body in the wet...the gate of my body...the kicking of the body...so much emotion in there....oy...this is really good jenne..

manicddaily said...

Wow! This is a very beautiful and moreover original piece, from the elephant booting the calf to the noose to the bath to the noose of candlelight to the elephant again -and the bitten lip. Well, the elephant always in the room as it were.

As always you have so many beautiful phrases - the dark of the herd, the dark of the mother, the noose of the candlelight, the o of the baby's face, the blades of day, the blue bowl of apples, all that business re the travels - the body. Very well done. k.

Beachanny said...

Dense, primal and artistic. Each section a prism that radiates life in another plane from a different angle. Nature, natural, beautiful, voracious, cruel, cyclical, fragile all encompassed in an ever moving sphere of images, a verisimilitude of life!

Anna Montgomery said...

The poem is full of veracity and lyric beauty. The haunting clarion of your gorgeous poetic voice shines through the prose, a real challenge. Your imagery sparkles and the psychological heartbeat thundered in my ears. Masterfully and artfully drawn.