Celebrate April with Poetry from Angela Rydell

April is Poetry Enjoyment month, and we thought we would share with you two poems from Angela Rydell, who teaches at several Continuing Studies’ writing programs throughout the year. She is currently leading two online courses, “Getting to Good” and “Taking the Poetic Leap.” In June, she will teach flash fiction techniques at the week-long “Write-by-the-Lake” program.

Angela holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Warren Wilson College and lives in Madison. Her poetry can be read in issues of “Prairie Schooner,” “Alaska Quarterly,” “Beloit Poetry Journal,” “Crab Orchard Review,” “The Sun Magazine,”  “Poets & Writers,”  “Wisconsin People & Ideas,” and other journals.

Her flash fiction is published or forthcoming in “Short Fast & Deadly,” “elimae,” “Daily Science Fiction,” “Whiskey Island Magazine,” “Inkwell,” and the “Fast Forward Press” collection. She is a recipient of Poets & Writers’ Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award and a Pushcart Prize nominee.

The International Forgiveness Institute
Forget it, I say to my ex-
lover when he says thank you
for returning his shampoo,
the pair of sunglasses I didn’t break,
and I shrug, that tiny tug
upward of shoulders, just
a twitch of resistance in order
to get it started—then the shoulders
drop, the box of his stuff drops

into his open arms, and
when I am walking later,
as I slow to place my foot over
a blackened leaf hardened
with early frost and listen to the slight,
newly knitted ice threads break
under the weight of my boot, I
look up for no reason

and see a hanging signboard
that reads “International Forgiveness
Institute” in carved black letters.
It shudders slightly as cars go by,
so it’s easy to miss—
and I have missed it before,
on this clotted city block in Minneapolis—
the International Forgiveness Institute
trying to loosen some distraught knot
far off in France, Japan, South
Africa. Just some people

on telephones, I’m thinking, in a small
dusty office with little rays of sun
widening, then dwindling in the room each day,
and they’re there calling and calling
to see if there’s anything
they can do–

(originally published in “The Sun Magazine”)

Pregnant Woman Thinks of Rainforest
The elephant stands on a stool—one-footed—
a teacup curled in her trunk, the delicate gauze of a tutu
stretched over her ample torso.

Some kids nearby have become the quietest
they’ve been in probably weeks, mouths four poised O’s,

as if in awe, she believes, of how love can be so fat and enormous,
thick-skinned, compliant when trained, yet twitching
a sail-sized ear, a tail, its true nature bursting the seams
of its costume, tuned to the far off stammers of toucans,
the flexible cage of a zebra’s running body,
while balanced so carefully in the spotlight, on stage,

on one small point, chair top to foot, and what a foot:
strong as a Mack truck, sensitive as the bones of the ear,
evolved, when pressed, to feel,
through any molecule on its wide pad of sole,
tremors, voices, seismically wise,
speaking to her through the shifting earth.

(originally published in “Beloit Poetry Journal”)

Have you written a poem? Please share it with us.