The Works of Jenna Rindo
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
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
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.
into hippocampal memory
one dendrite over from his expression
dormant before blooming into her
against all good advice
in the waning lightof that Tuesday afternoon.
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.