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 .

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Poem for Magpie Tales and Beyond: No Passing Zone

As noted above, my first collection in thirty years, Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, due out in October from Finishing Line Press, may be preordered; visit the blog I've set up for it here....

Photo - Steven Kelly 
No-Passing Zone

That winter, cabin fever
drove us out of Albuquerque,
so that after eight hours
on Route 66, we found ourselves
on a half-tarred road notched
into the mountain,

small family grafted to one another
by need and grief
like an ebony four-leaf clover
pendant, pieces that would never
break away from the whole.

In full-blown DT’s our mother
rode shotgun,
young brother with me in the back
of the US Forest Service Chevy sedan
leased to our father

for such forays through high country
to tally beetle-killed trees,
and collect the unwelcome dwarf mistletoe
gleaming in the clefts
of the ponderosa.

We nosed up into the season
of deep snow
on icy switchback shoulders
you didn’t dare pass slower traffic on;

chain-smoking, my mother clung to my father
and I held my brother’s hand on the back seat,
now and then looking down
at the slate drop-off
where buzzards rode the downdraft
in their gyre over mule deer carrion.

Down the other side
Navajo country, the Rez:
and the government cabin
we had provisioned ourselves
for, unpeeled tongue and groove,
hand-hewn and welcoming,
rocking back against red cliffs:
the nearby fields were pocked with lamb-heavy
woolly Churro ewes, heads down
in December’s diffident wind.

A fire burning high with a pinon knot,
a roast leg of mutton
left for us in the freezer by the ranger
would lift our spirits;
we, the brave children,
issue of territorial stock,
tumbled into the cabin’s gloom,
but she, slamming down scotch,
held up for a mere hour.                 

Like the last aspen leaf of an early autumn,
she shook at the hearth, sparks snapping
up the chimney,
clawing at her own arms;

You have to take me back.
I have to go back.

This was every year’s gift,
new ordeal tied up with a ribbon
sangre de Cristo red--
a junket ruined
by her fear, this ungrown thing
we had for a mother

no one had been able to fix,
not even with vaunted shock treatments
at Nazareth Sanitarium
on the edge of the city
so that we could be the children again,

not the parents, not the ones
holding our breath over an ice-slick pass
at dusk, boring through a blizzard

my father back on duty
at his other job, putting out fires from
the ashes she left like bread crumbs
wherever she wandered the night long
in weeping disarray.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2013

The old Route 66, and the Painted Desert Trading Post ruin...

Route 66 into the Navajo Reservation 

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