Jean Rodenbough – Four Poems

Lunar Voyage

A Moon conference—for women only.
I took the next spaceship headed there,
two mice at the helm worked gauges.
At times I reached across to correct
the temperature dial they mishandled.
They were either mischievous or malicious;
I never knew which but they were pilots—
(it all begins to fade as dreams do)—

We landed and I saw soil and grass not desert dust
I remember the gathering of women
at the meals, remember their speaking of me
in the business session and I think it was favorable.
We met in the large building where earlier
we were interrupted by strange sky signs:
stars and sun at wrong angles, unfamiliar.
I pass through the room where
I hear my name and nothing more.
My time is up for moon-beam trips.
The pilot mice call me aboard
and I depart before the session
is adjourned.


a woman named Stephanie

she gives our phone number
to stores where she buys things
but a mystery how she came by it
those places call me
they tell me to pay my bills
I explain again and again
that I am not Stephanie

whoever you are, woman
by the name of Stephanie
I am not you
perhaps you can get a life
of your own some day
and I wish you a long
and happy one
with your own phone number


Killing Butterflies

Fifty-five going down a country road
too fast to slow down for the fleeting
gold and black flutter that
meets the car. The rear-view
mirror does not reveal receding
evidence as I fly on wheels, not gauzy
wings, away from impact.  This is
a season for butterflies:  Last week,
a blend of reds and golds, shiny
blues, flitting to fatal collisions,
dropping to asphalt.  I am unable
to halt their plunge against
glass and metal.  Sorrow hides its heavy
presence, absent even tears and color.


After the Shower

I strap on my bra
with a slight bow
to the breast god,
fasten hooks.
The dryer blows my hair
and I see a wild woman
in the misted mirror.

I recall that summer I saw
my aunt Susan’s scarred
and empty chest.  To a child
it was startling to see what marked
a woman forever. We changed into
our swimwear.  She pulled up
her suit with the padded front
and we all headed for the beach
trailing inner-tubes and towels and dogs.

I move into this day
prepared for nothing, hoping
everything, bowing as an untamed
but breasted woman.