Three Poems by Jeannine Savard

Jeannine Savard

Jeannine Savard

Jeannine Savard is an Associate Professor of English at Arizona State University, Tempe campus where she has been teaching on the creative writing faculty for over twenty years. Her work has appeared in a variety of periodicals and journals, and her most recent manuscript of poems will be published by Red Hen Press in late 2009 or early 2010. Her books in print include Snow Water Cove (republished in Carnegie Mellon's Classic Contemporary Series, 2006), My Hand Upon Your Name (Red Hen Press, 2005), and& Trumpeter (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1993).


Before the zoo lights turned on 
she walked toward the sky's red grasses, 
a lion's eye looking down
the black veils of a hot savanna.

At the edge of the salt cedar,
already longing.

One visible star on the eve of the New Year, 
a glass wall breaking into pieces, 
otters rolling over rocks inside their lodges.

The next day, a man and a woman kiss, 
remembering the camel that sunk into its own 
deep cry, double rows of eyelashes, 
weight shifting from one whole side to the other, 
huge sadness

gone with just one raisin.

Spring Advisory from a Book of Changes 

I. Sacrifice

A shoulder in the transitioning light 
verges with hers, then

whole tree sets down
collateral and sturdy,

attendant to
the instant she's given up

all thought of love.

In her ear a bone hammers out a code, 
an astounding draw on the heart,

rooted no doubt in the balance.

Guided to uncover,
she finds the discretionary stone 
she will set between.

Only after, will the light 
stream through their coats of skin.

Desire transcripted
into hemal tones 

they'll offer back
as a gift to good beginnings.

II. Jade

The handle of the pot, a dragon's head and neck,
holds in her hand—another firing with light
for the smooth rail 
along the internally green staircase.

Without words
they're urged to climb; without struggle
the blood will be cleansed.

With every breath, one thousand miles:
advancing/retreating, hardening/ softening,
adding/subtracting—watching the heat
of foreknowledge unfold:
a woman, a man.

They're walking their minds out
between the lights of seven stars,
walking home, seeming to exist/
seeming not to exist, 
wearing a gold perfume.

Desert Camp 

At midnight, a wild donkey brayed around the tent,
crushing stones in moonlight.
At sunrise, discovery—a rough garland of gold nuggets, 
avenue of plum well-piled and braiding through the vestibule.

Kierkegaard would have said
this is like Existence—like "the frog you found
at the bottom of your beer mug." Not waste,
but something unexpected—beautiful or ugly in the eyes.

You're free, he'd say,
have seen the mine shafts its ancestors were dragged-in for,
that the lugging out of silver and the overload of earth
on their long thin backs—the subjection, and backward kicks of night, 
moans around cactus, dust blowing through the sweltering days, 
is Either inconsequential history 
Or it is not. 
Either way, the herd out there is potent, 
echoing itself, just like you, your own perfect confidant.