Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Andrea Hollander: Betrayals

At least my father did not betray anyone.

It was the plaque in his brain that betrayed him.


As for my ex—well, time passes, and I see

how some take what they need and even manage


to believe the lies they tell. That’s as far as I’d go,

if I were writing about him.


Others don’t know they’re speaking falsehoods.

The year before his diagnosis, Dad began


to introduce himself as if he were still Lieutenant

Colonel Hollander, as if the next 40 years


had never happened. Perhaps plaque is so hungry

it eats away memory scores at a time.


It was summer and he stood at the front door

in his winter coat and hat watching something


through the little rectangular window.

Traffic? Children at the crosswalk?


Birds in the old cherry tree on the front lawn

we didn’t know had been slowly dying?


My marriage was like that, despite its profusions

of blooms. None of us knew how soon that tree


would thud down during a late summer storm,

the tips of its branches scratching the front door,


my father’s face framed in its window,

the few words he still knew—


hollow little grunting sounds, really—

escaping from his throat like birds.


Copyright 2018 Andrea Hollander Budy

Andrea Hollander moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2011, after many years in the Arkansas Ozarks, where she ran a bed & breakfast for 15 years and served as the Writer-in-Residence at Lyon College for 22. Hollander’s 5th full-length poetry collection, Blue Mistaken for Sky, is due from Autumn House Press in September 2018.

10 comments on “Andrea Hollander: Betrayals

  1. Mary E. Bryant
    August 4, 2018

    Good poem, Andrea. Betrayals never quite leave us–until we leave.


    • Andrea Hollander
      August 4, 2018

      Right you are, Mary. Thank you for posting your comment.


  2. nebula61
    August 1, 2018

    Tears my heart out by the roots! And I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andrea Hollander
      August 1, 2018

      So good of you to respond to the poem, Bea. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nancy Naomi Carlson
    July 31, 2018

    Such a beautiful poem, Andrea!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andrea Hollander
      August 1, 2018

      Thank you, Nancy. Lovely to hear from you.


  4. Bob Qualls
    July 30, 2018

    I miss you, Andrea. I am glad to see you are still doing beautiful work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andrea Hollander
      July 31, 2018

      Thank you, Bob. It seems a long time since we worked together at Lyon. I hope you are well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Naomi Shihab Nye
    July 30, 2018

    Wow. Really strong poem, Andrea!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andrea Hollander
      July 30, 2018

      Thank you, Naomi, for taking the time to respond. I hope all is well with you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

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