I live with my husband Ron, our youngest son, Noah and a varied collection of wild and domesticated animals in rural Wisconsin. For several years I worked as a pediatric intensive care nurse and like to incorporate my hospital experiences into poems. I now teach English to Arabic, Hmong, Spanish, Chinese, and Kurdish speakers at the elementary level. My poems have been published in American Journal of Nursing, Calyx, Bellingham Review, Tampa Review, and other journals.
Swallow a Southern Cure
Told to turn south, to go back home
they bundle their babies and leave the flat of Wisconsin.
But even mountain laurel can’t cure their syndrome.
Ten years ago, she came to his mountain tent a technical virgin.
They buckle their babies in the backseat to flee the flat of Wisconsin.
Ignoring signs for hair-pin curves and falling rock,
they drive up Old Rag Mountain to unearth the honeymoon sins
but the humus of love has dried dense as clay, they suffer Yankee shock.
They ignore warning signs, marvel over blue granite rock.
Ten years ago they were baptized in Mineral Springs.
But their hearts froze hard, they wane weak, drop into shock.
Tarnish engraves those wedding rings.
Ten years ago, some preacher dunked them in Mineral Springs.
She wore her mama’s wedding dress: hoops, crinoline, layers of lace
Now a dark tarnish stains those white-gold wedding rings.
The dress carried a curse, it was no saving grace.
The dress is dated: hoops, crinoline, layers of lace.
They leave Virginia seeking a stronger cure in rooted live oaks,
but they still can’t latch on to saving grace.
The babies fuss as day fades; moss rings the trees in smoke.
They seek the heat of Georgia, the haunt of live oaks
but roots and blooms of mountain laurel can’t cure their syndrome.
The babies bawl as day fades; moss clouds the trees in smoke.
They turned south but still can’t find their way back home.
(first published Crab Orchard Review 2011)
©2016 Jenna Rindo
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