Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jenne Andrews: Again

How can I reconstruct you,

Salvage you from leaves and dust

To speak to you again?

Remake you like God’s breath

From lark wings, shards

From Chaco, weft

Of Navajo rugs, the stained

Pages of the old tomes,

History of New Mexico,

Love letters and war diaries?


I am a girl, and you, artiste,

Are teaching me the properties

Of clay. I try my small hand

At slabware, making a lopsided

Bowl. Even then, I remember,

You said, here is coilware, easier

For you, and we rolled the clay

On an old pine board, into

Long grey worms and built a bowl

Together, notching the coils

Into each other, covering outer

And inner walls with slip—

Clay and water.


At last it pleased you,

This bowl we fired in the kiln,

Glazing it yucca yellow

With a black pueblo design.


If I mixed your ashes

With tears and rain,

Would you appear

Reconstituted, the way

Madama Butterfly comes

Into relief behind a scrim

Of pussy willows and a high-riding



There are so many things

I would leave out of you now,

Thirty-eight years out from your death,

Mulching your ashes into a rose

That hung her head, succumbing

To native red clay.

How when you slashed me

I lobbed your objets d’arte

Against the wall—porcelain

Minute man, Staffordshire shepherdess—

My knife-cuts in your canvases

Their bosomy mountains rocking

On arid afternoon.


Earlier you brought me home

To a small vintage adobe,

Interior walls newly


Over my crib, the family crest;

You wrote my pedigree

In the baby book.

You pushed the pram

Down Guadalupe Trail

To Mrs. Apadoca’s redolent

Market, to buy chile and comino–

There we are in photographs,

I in lacy dresses,

You, cameo broach

At your throat.


Posed before all the world,

We looked happy.

But I came looking for you

In a dream—to ask you

When it was that you

Cast me from you

Like the puppies we chained

In the yard,

Little girl, bereft of her mother,

In a glade, playing with snails,


You in the house with a new baby,

My brother, whose own mother I became

When you were committed

For screaming at ghosts the night long.


This is not a Valentine

On the order of Edwardian convention

Or détente between mothers

And daughters.

It is a cry from deep within my heart,

Or that place where the soul

Knowing she is missing part of herself

Keens, haunting

Her own life

Bereft as a child, for that one

In whose belly she rode,

Whose touch and laughter

Like a black and white film,

starring the acerbic Garbo,

Plays on the edge of uneasy sleep

Again and again.


Copyright 2017 Jenne Andrews




One comment on “Jenne Andrews: Again

  1. jenneandrews
    March 3, 2017

    Many thanks– to all fellow sojourners….xxxj

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on March 3, 2017 by in Art and Cinema, Poetry and tagged , , .

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