The Works of Jenna Rindo

Jenna Rindo lives with her husband and blended family of five children in rural Pickett, Wisconsin. Her poems and essays have appeared in Frontiers:  A Journal of Women StudiesArs Medica, Free Verse, WI ReviewEclectica Magazine and other journals both print and on-line. 

All Poems © Jenna Rindo

Before the Divorce

On the worst winter days,

days of heavy sky and little light

she leaves the polluted air

stagnating inside their house

for the shock of

below zero.

She dresses in layers, hangs her

consignment ice-skates with their

cracked white leather and new neon

laces over her shoulder

and walks to Lake Winnebago.

She chants all the Indian names

of the Wisconsin towns and rivers

as she skates in ovals over and over.

She is homesick for Virginia,

for blood kin and best friends.

They’re here for his only tenure track offer.

(As a nurse, she can get a job anywhere.)

She wonders if other wives talk

to their husbands about bad dreams,

and borrowed books.

She realizes the content of conversations

can never include deja vu and things of the Spirit.

On the worst winter day,

when she knows the azaleas and mountain

laurel are already blooming back home,

she stops skating to stare down an ice-fishing hole.

The layers of bubbles bleeding from clear

to opaque, intrigue her.

She takes off her wool rag mitten

to submerge her left hand in the shock of

frigid water.

Secretly she wills her wedding ring

to slip off and sink to the soft scummy bottom.

But how to explain such a convoluted



Signaling from road shoulders

and railroad beds

with petals a blue

so purple pure

it’s the gas flame of an aster

against last grass of summer.

Toothed bitter leaves, prickly stems

offer a protection not available to

more cultivated flowers like lilies

and showy zinnias.

You’ll never know the confines

of crystal vase.

So pull up your taproots to

stride down the road

with the long limbed steps

of adolescent girls.

Ragged flowers wave

like skirts and distress calls

demanding attention, and thrills.

Yet the next day you limp

sullen and faded

leaving the dance floor

to press your back

against a wall.

Explication of an Obsession for Stealing Campus Roses

She parks the spruce green Corolla illegally.

Finger swipes a lopsided heart on the

rear window-- yellowed with pine pollen,

coated with road dust.

She races up three flights,

skipping every other step.

She takes everything in,

the missing turquoise tile

on the second stairwell landing,

the pictures and clippings on his office door,

the misspelled words under the drawing by

his third grade daughter.

She wonders if she should knock.

She leaves slowly, counting each step in Spanish

looking for luck, not portents.

The roses thrust up abundantly.

She is surrounded.

Thorns do not concern her

nor strangers’ stares.

The parking ticket under the wiper

is yanked up by the root like a weed.

Later in the still of the last summer day,

she slices stems to subtle angles;

waits for them to take up water like forgiveness.

She studies perfect foliage dusted against

conception and stem canker.

Flowers are arranged in odd numbers.

Vases are placed between open windows

to catch that sharp cracked pepper scent

of stolen yellow roses.

She needs to waft that spicy smell

into hippocampal memory

one dendrite over from his expression

dormant before blooming into her

against all good advice

in the waning light

of that Tuesday afternoon.

Word Origins

Words come in color:

they splay out and splatter us with stains.

We must look for tints and hues of gray,

eat the pastels at midnight.

To the bee golden pollen is the sweetest synonym,

pistils and stamens send a cipher:

the botany of hope blows in the air.

Human sex is the pink of flesh,

wrinkled and hidden under complicated layers.

The peppery smell of such urgency

from the broken stems and legal separations

some new iris blooms from iron-poor blood.