August 1999

Andrea Hollander Budy

Andrea Hollander Budy   This marks an author's first appearance in an online magazineAndrea Hollander Budy’s first collection of poems, House Without a Dreamer (Story Line Press, 1993, 1995), won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize.  Her poems and essays have appeared in such places as Poetry, The Georgia Review, The Hudson Review, The Kenyon Review, Creative Nonfiction and DoubleTake.  Her second full-length collection, The Other Life, is forthcoming from Story Line next year.  She lives in Mountain View, Arkansas, and is the Writer-in-Residence at Lyon College.

What I Need It For    Listen in real audio

I meant it for my desk, to hold my pencils and pens,
but I need flowers instead, yellow-centered
summer daisies to bluster into my poems.

Each morning when I trudge into my study,
rain or shine, rain or (mostly) more rain,
one look at these white pinwheels

each with its own little sun, and I can begin
to believe my own weather is different.
But what if you stepped into that room

just now, awkward as our first day, hesitant
and wordless? The flowers could have been
roses, of course. Better they aren't. Better

they are common flowers, the kind
you plant only once,
and year after year they return.



What It Is    Listen in real audio

It is
whatever it is
that stirs the house

of your heart,
that shares
your hunger,

your thirst,
your urge all day
to hear more

than your own voice
voicing its foolishness.

It is
whatever it is
in your hands

that slithers away,
whatever can only be
glimpsed, sudden

or sharp, but tuneless,
bass notes, not

You were born
you'd have to learn

whatever it would take
and even to learn
what to make of it.

It is not
the words
in your throat

not even
your honest intention.

When you open
your mouth
it is

whatever it is
that no longer speaks
that longs to speak,

whatever it is
that trembles.



Andrea Hollander Budy: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue EightThe Cortland Review