“Windrose” by Jennifer GoldringBuy the Poem
Jennifer Goldring earned her MFA in Poetry from the University of Missouri–St. Louis. When she isn’t writing or taking photos, she is Managing Editor for december magazine. She lives with her two children and their small menagerie of pets. Jennifer’s poetry can be found in Tar River Poetry, Architrave Press, and the anthology Poetry with a Dash of Salt. Her photography can be found at www.junipertreestudio.com.
Poems that don’t deliver a sense of closure can be tricky to pull off—they can feel unfinished or emotionally flat. This one succeeds through its consistent, evocative images, which provide a nuanced understanding of not just what it’s like to be in a stalled relationship but what keeps both people from getting back on track. It’s there in the spinning, broken compass and the faulty map: This couple isn’t equipped to find their way free. It’s in their “Mouths full of swollen buds/ that never bloom” into fruitful communication. And it’s in the words “lost/ on the weird wind trails/ of the dunes”; even when they do speak, the other person doesn’t hear. It’s a perfect storm: They’re beautifully, heartbreakingly doomed.
Only one of the two travellers in this poem speaks and it’s clear s/he feels trapped, idle inside fruitless movement. What would this person do to pass the time? Probably jot notes in a journal, try to capture at least the sense of ennui even if it can’t be overcome. Aji Hand is informal, unhurried, and neat without obsession; it’s the hand of a person concerned with penmanship as a way to pass the time. Sybil Green’s doodle-like quality takes a step further south, toward boredom.