Bio Note: I live with my husband on five acres in rural Wisconsin where we raised our five children. Recent poems and essays have been published in Natural Bridge, Prism Review and Mount Hope Magazine. I worked as a pediatric nurse and now teach English to non-native speakers. I compete in 5K’s to full marathons and train outside 12 months a year.
Spell for Blue
Choose to believe in an indigo bunting’s wings feathers dipped, drenched in turquoise ink perched on a wire, swishing tail to release some flag of hope for the widow struggling to fill the feeder with nyjer seed. Refuse to understand color as light diffraction feather structure staged to showcase only blue wave lengths Let them be blue through and through Let the bird guzzle blue pea vine tea Let him feast on the flesh of codlings Let him fly high over fresh lakes and salty beryl sea Let him move beyond superman skies. All night he will find his necessary constellations stars gleaming like Lite Brite pegs punched through heavy paper shaping some mythical creature Let him be the bird of the hour bird of the week where where here here see him see him sweet sweet.
Her first horse was a late gelding. Thrown to the ground prone, put fully under. But he retained each private pain. The muscle memory of legs bound, his power to kick and canter held hostage. That forced submission was worse than the trauma of open castration. For weeks she walked him in hand. Since she was slight and had not grown into her features, the fresh gelding allowed her closeness and care. When she mounted him and pressed her legs to his withers she forgot her need for human praise. She forgot all rules around the normal progression—walk, trot, canter gallop. She led her horse to high water. She did not make him drink.
First Run after Cougar Sighting
DNR believes at least two male cougars have been wandering Wisconsin since August, before that no confirmed sightings since the turn of the century. Ripon, WI Commonwealth Press January 2018 Each whisper of ditch-weed, each passing shadow from leaves is the movement under stillness before the cougar leaps. He is packaged in power while you’ve run yourself weak.You are scrawny and anemic to his plush, tawny, sleek. You run with some blessing of Boston, chase an undeserved grace, the rhythmic sound of your minimal shoes, laced over porous fractured feet. He bounds through the Western Hemisphere, scraping soil and snow with secret codes. You repeat random advice that’s been offered: never turn your back, look larger, sound louder, be filled with some primal, cellular power. Resist the urge to run. Since you carry no pack and wear no coat let down your long hair. Shake out your matted tangles then stare into his amber eyes. Chant his preferred prey in lieu of prayer— mice, marmot, hare, fawn, raccoon, yearling-bear. Become zen but do not crouch down. Lower your heart rate, slow your breath and hope to flow under before he pulls apart rows of slow-twitch muscles you have nurtured for races with recovery protein and water bottles, placed in the crotch of tree branches. Know he will bury your hundred pound carcass in the exhausted sepia acre behind the farmer’s fieldstone border. Your marathon training will sustain him, give him strength to find his screaming in-estrus mate.
Originally published in One online journal June 2020
©2021 Jenna Rindo
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