Sunday 5 May 2024

2 Poems by Ave Jeanne Ventresca

SELF-PORTRAIT / Native American poet in the mirror

still naming the ingredients in his face,
so predominant are the flavors of wind
and juniper berries. see how his
hair begins to gray as it forgets those
days when young was the pattern.  he

seems to recall his gardens, where
aromas were sculpted throw hoe
and rake. many family members called
upon their hands and fingers to forecast
evening’s meal. today he is thinking

of these scars upon his skin. each one
like some long ago story where coyotes
upon the desert ran free, and offerings
from ancestors were retold. this weathered
hat upon his head evokes a season when
bird feathers upon it were clean and bright.

PORTRAIT IN PASTELS / Native American Woman

somewhere in a field of green she straightly
sits, with hair as dark as midnight, that finds
her shining, beneath its straightness and soft.
upon her neck, beads of many seasons, sizes
and hues, reflect their images upon the still
water. she thinks of grandfather’s stories.

pictures him at the river’s edge. in a pasture,
bending for corn, squash, firm beans. today,
this land no longer holds their home. sorrow
consumes her day, each hour longs to see
grandfather’s shadow once again. her eyes,

ebony and alone, call to the waters to
comfort her limbs and heart. these four
feathers behind her ear are at a fade, and she
is pulled into this hungry river’s mouth.


Ave Jeanne Ventresca (aka: ave jeanne) is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry reflecting social and environmental concerns. Poetry from her most recent collection, Noticing The Colors of Ordinary, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize, 2019. Her award winning poetry has been widely published internationally within commercial and literary magazines, in print and online.  She edited the acclaimed literary / artwork magazine Black Bear Review, and served as publisher of Black Bear Publications for twenty years.

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