Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda

Poet, Artist, Educator

                 

 

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In the Poet's Spotlight for August 2006:  Joanne Scott Kennedy

Joanne Scott Kennedy holds a degree in English literature from The University of Maryland.  A former reference librarian and book reviewer, she is author of the chapbook, The Edge of the Woods, and a memoir, Red and Mary and the Kids.  She has also had work published in the anthologies Images of Williamsburg, Vintage Wine and Good Spirits, A Ribbon at a Time, volumes 13-18 and 21 of The Poet’s Domain, the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 80th Anniversary Anthology of Poems, and in the periodicals Skylark, Sparks, St. Anthony Messenger and Edge City Review, among others.  Her interview with Sofia Starnes recently appeared in Pavement Saw Press E-Zine. She has been awarded prizes in the Poetry Society of Virginia contests, Christopher Newport University Literary Festival contests, and those of The Williamsburg Poetry Guild.   Mother of eight and grandmother of twenty-four, she and Robert Kennedy recently celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. They live in Toano, Virginia.

Like a Mazda

 

 

I’m thinking of you as a car, the hatchback Mazda

come to us from no-inspection Tennessee.

 

        You’d been checked recently; no call

        for overhaul or red lights shrieking

                          DANGER!! 

        Full speed ahead, we thought.

 

The car, road-worthy too—HA! That Mazda money

pit demanded brakes, muffler, a.c., tail light, radiator,

 

paint, then lay down in traffic and refused to rise. 

While mechanics excavated innards, leaned in to attach

 

a bucking, stinking, junkyard-found computer, stuck out

greasy palms for piles of green,       

 

         your big, warm heart was suddenly,

         severely, weakened, all valves leaking,

         strong voice fading, a horn that barely

         blew.  We gave you up—no choice—

         to saws, scalpels, masks rummaging

         your chest, and with tunneled leg

         veins buttressed in by seamstress

         stitches, your mended motor hiccuped,

         caught, grabbed a steady, stronger beat.

 

As good as new?  Well, nothing ever is, and how

can we be sure the diagnoses were correct,

 

the slicing, splicing right?  But there you two go,

tootin’ loud and headed for the highway, testin’ out

 

how fast and far, how long—and just look how

that Mazda holds the road!  

 

©Joanne Scott Kennedy

Published in The Edge of the Woods, 2003

         Letter

To a German Grandfather

 

 

           Last June we found your farm again,

the contour of the fields, the bridge I hid

 

my freckled self beneath, scared you’d spot

the broken drainpipe, flail me with gutturals

 

I couldn’t understand.  He thinks girls good

for nothing, Mother sneered.  He never let his

 

children play.                    I was adult and you

were gone, when Uncle Frank revealed you

 

as a frightened man, fumbled English, all those

mouths to fill.                    Yet I remember

 

handsome, hair and mustache full and gray,

the slight smile when you took a few swipes

 

with the scythe…your pigeons’ cooing

on the iridescent shed, kin of doves who link

 

this earth to heaven.        When I too have flown,

frights erased as yours have been, will you tell

 

me stories of the forests of Bavaria, and if your

father let you play?            I need to tell you

 

that I always wondered if you wanted more

from me than fear.

 

 

©Joanne Scott Kennedy

 

 

The Edge of the Woods

 

 

  I must be vigilant.  

Snakes and vines

could sneak across the border

from their fecund woods

to this tidy lawn

 I tame with chemicals. 

 

Shrieks

deep down its bristling darkness

frighten and entice me;

bone clashing with hollow horn,

a crashing chase

 and flash of roaring stripes. 

 

What if my hose-clad legs

 and pump-shod feet should step

 across that humming line, discover

fleshy thickets and trampled circles,

secret laughter...

 

Could I,

barefoot and bitten, hose in shreds,

step back again? 

Would I,

rough-touched and kissed?

 

 

©Joanne Scott Kennedy

Published in The Edge of the Woods, 2003

A Square of Falling Rain                         

 

 

Far off, a mile or more away across

unforgiving sand, a silver square of

falling rain visible as we on the lonely

Utah highway.  From flats to heaven,

a glinting-needle quadrant stable as

the tent that shelters casket, flag, priest,

mourners and their grief, tethers them to

earth.  Then it shifted, kept its perimeter

but swung, like the column of cloud that

guided the Israelites, or a symphony

swaying with its maestro; like the horde

journeying with Jesus, I in the crush,

surging where The Good Shepherd led.

 

 

©Joanne Scott Kennedy  

 

Come back each month and discover the work of other poets to be featured in the "Poet's Spotlight."

 

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