Albany Poetry 
Workshop Logo

Guest Poet Jennifer Wortman


The night I tried to control the winter road
and failed, the snow flung
my wheels off-road then softened
the crash, spinning
my father's Chevy as a playground swing
spins fast
then slow, untwisting
its chains.

Had I tried to control the winter road?

The old trees circled like hungry
children, and in the lifetime
before impact, no life
flashed before me,
lighting the dark
like a camera lights the faces
of children,

December, 2001

Jennifer Wortman's Questions:

How effective are the line breaks?

Is the middle line/stanza too directive or distracting?

Does the poem start at the right place?

What emotion comes through in this poem, and how?

Do the metaphors make sense, logically and emotionally?

Of My Love Who Doesn't Belong

My elephant paints over white with lime,
the brush at home inside his trunk. I hold
the ladder and admire his dull-dime hide,
though elephants make bad husbands, I'm told.
Last night, our evening stroll came to sad end:
my elephant pureed a puppy with
his noiseless step--another accident.
But love is never easy, I insist,
and accidents encourage care, for he
has come to know our ways and I know his.
So now I hold the distance bent between
us, hold it still with trembling knees and lips,
for somewhere in this distance lies our fate:
this distance I support supports his weight.

December, 2001

Jennifer Wortman's Questions: Are there places where the language seems forced?

How do you interpret the final couplet?

Are you able to visualize the final four lines?
How do you characterize the relationship between the speaker and the elephant?

APW Guests' Pages

APW Home