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 .

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Poem: Russet-red On White, for DVerse and Beyond

Russet-red on White

Every month I would swell and ache.
The seedling would make its way
down the river in my belly
to the vine-damp gate.  My heart would 
extend a witching stick, a willow limb
whittled down with a point to make,
sending audacious inquiries into the night.

This body became a cave with an embered
hearth. The globes of my breast would fill
with moonlight, the hunger in me
dropping to all fours, calling out
in a sea of sweat.

Once sated, the angel of the mind sang.
My hands went wandering for skeins of wool;
out in the fields of spring the mares’
milk came in, the blood-bag burst
and foals arose from the grass
on trembling and spindled legs.

Once the moon waned, and passion’s furnace
cooled, how I had tilted myself
to a lover’s urgency,
urging the life milk on to reach
what this could be in time,

the storm of famine
would abate and garnet drops
of blood tell the story
of the heart leaching absence.

A womb in mourning drags the will
down spare furrows:
I thought now and then I could see
something infinitesimal with a tiny
tail, tadpole, a seahorse shape
in the russet-red on white.


Once the bleeding didn’t come;
the moon waned and I made wax
at the nipple-tips, yearned and slept; 
a test showed a one-ring Saturn,
an eye at the bottom of the tube.

I did all I could to keep her there,
in the spongy hollow where I would
feed her as she grew;  I sang out
names, drank milk, brushed my hair,
walked the lawn’s length by starlight.

The night I bled her out of me
sweating and fevered, I thought
of my grandmother,
her petticoats pulled around her hips
her bodice restraining her breasts,
taking in my grandfather’s seed
with the oil lamp trimmed,
each time carrying until the infant
shot forth into swaddling and her arms.

My zygote, my archangel child--
had I not shed you again and again,
I would have suckled you
beneath the Pleiades;
I would have kept you close,
away from the dark songs
life sings, all peril and ruthless lack.


copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2012


Maureen said...

Strong imagery that heightens the deep and pervasive sense of loss.

"My heart would extend / a witching stick..." carries so much meaning here.

Anna Montgomery said...

I have known intimately the longing for a child and the desire to protect her from 'dark songs'. Your poem is gorgeous, true, courageous, and I admire its conception and birth.

Natasha Head said...

Oh my...you leave this reader with goosebumps and a crying heart...I was glued to every word...and did not realize I was holding my breath until your finish...this was amazing

Victoria said...

This is so replete with both sensuality and sadness. You plumb the depths of longing and barreness. I stand in awe.

Brian Miller said...

gosh jenne, this is so sad...i have had friends that tried and tried and without...each time, its so painful...

Kim Nelson said...

Strong, forceful, intense, mournful. I am sorry.

PattiKen said...

You've written so much pain and loss into this. It leaves me saddened.

Anonymous said...

Terribly sad and beautiful poem as all have said. It really is very moving. The imagery strong - supple fervid fertile rich and then this terrible sadness and loss. Very well done as poem, but so sad. k.

Claudia said...

wow jenne, this is a powerful and intense write with gorgeous imagery