Mine. Rubric. 2 poems by Andrea Holland

andrea holland

                                -	For C.

There were times 	I left my tools at the top. 
There were times I pitched against the rock 
against my will     against you    sedimentary, fixed

to everything around me. 	Therein a song 
of the dark lit a little by shine off the walls. 
I thought I made you 		but you were there

all along; the body’s way 	of working itself
into the future. I thought tools were
enough to bring you out 	they were not.

I did not know 	your own necessary
seismicity; that you would force me back
to the surface 		and the only substance left 

the only thing substantial 	is the words i give you
to go along with the toil (the words come back to me now)
(your words you form 	out of your own dark toil)

The heavy work 	of digging you out of the cleft 
of the seam is nothing against the work of letting you go, 
placing you in the truck 	heading for the surface 

where the air is not always light 	and blessed. 
And (at this moment) 	to know the truck
that takes you. 	To know the truck takes you, 

but not know where           or if there is burning at the end.

				— for A.

For a second, I see a sort of Pieta in reverse
as you ease my sneaker onto my right foot
and then the left, with a glance of tender 
knowledge, as if your eyes were not
made for tears.

When you were born I fought nature. I lay
on the bed for weeks after, floating in the Red
Sea; I wanted to take you back to the midwife,
but I pretended to be your boat without holes.
I mimed songs, smiles, and at night I raged
uselessly against the tide of your cries;
sleepless and hungry us both.

And then one day I almost sang the shanty 
of love, and when I held you it was like
tilting a chalice of wine to my lips, on my knees.
Then I meant it when I buttoned your tiny coat
against cold. I meant it when I eased small socks,
slight as wafers, over cool toes. I meant to be
your mother. You know I was meant to be
your mother, as you ease my shoes on with
the reciprocal gaze of the blessed.

Andreea Holland’s publications include Broadcasting (Gatehouse Press) which won the Norfolk Commission for Poetry and Borrowed (Smith/Doorstop) as well as individual poems in journals and anthologies in the UK and USA, including The Rialto, andotherpoems.com and The World Speaking Back – poems for Denise Riley. I teach Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and sit on the Board of the European Association of Creative Writing Programs and also on the NAWE Higher Ed. committee. I’ve published articles on poetry, creative writing pedagogy and collaborative practice, including for The Portable Poetry Workshop (Palgrave/Macmillan) and I live in Norwich with my sons and a Romanian rescue dog.


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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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