Poem of the Week: “Driving,” by Jenny Linn Loveland

Acting director Laurie Hollinger on her choice for this week’s poem: “In observance of Veterans Day, I sought out poems by those who served. Here is a poem by Jenny Linn Loveland. Born in Tokyo, Japan, and raised in an Air Force family, Loveland grew up in Fairfield, CA near Travis Air Force Base. Commissioned at UC-Berkeley (1975), she was among the first women allowed to enter ROTC, and she is a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and a Gulf War Veteran. Having raised two children, she lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she teaches, paints, ​ writes, and conducts writing seminars for veterans affiliated with The Armed Services Arts Partnership and Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Medical Center. She belongs to The Poetry Society of Virginia, The Hampton Roads Veterans Writers Group, and writers’ groups in Richmond. She is working on a collection of poems and short stories about family, service, recovery, and joy.”


for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan

whenever I see a yard
not fenced in, freshly trimmed, I notice the fire-red
hydrant, talons out stretched   all directions

flashing flags

whenever I hear sprinklers
tick and pulse, the stop-start whir of scythes
bicycling against tall grass   mowed

that thrum

I taste lush green shadows the hoses
left, breathe the newly sliced grass, filaments
rising, the dandelion manes shorn, and the summer’s flotsam
malingering behind the wheel

I succumb

to scalding air-soaked deserts, molten
carpets of tar and dark odors where F-16’s
metal blades blasting night, shift orange
flicking Bedouin shadows,

all mirage

whenever I see a yard unfenced,
I clench, keep to the wheel and drive
through worry, past
the tread marks, past
grit and sweat, past
the neighbors sipping beer.

First published in The Art of War, the War on the Rocks’ online defense journal, December 18, 2015, then in A Common Bond: A Veterans Chapbook, 2016.

Retrieved from https://womensvoicesforchange.org/poetry-sunday-driving-by-jenny-linn-loveland.htm


Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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