“I search Craiglist for sadness: a white couch the only result.” begins “Weeks After My Brother Overdoses,” the final poem in Kerrin McCadden’s chapbook, Keep This to Yourself (Button Poetry 2020). McCadden’s latest collection is a strikingly blunt yet beautifully lyrical meditation on what it means to lose a loved one to America’s current opioid crisis.
She took the knife out now. Richard had just risen, the mattress swelling with the forgiveness of his weight. He paused at the bathroom door, the light behind him throwing a shadow on the outline of his taut belly. A stiff, wiry hair, strong as an antenna, pointed from his middle roundness. Clara Jayne had the overwhelming urge to pluck it. Maybe even to suck it. He said, “I’m so glad we’re doing this,” “this” meaning the child he wanted and she didn’t.
It’s not like he can just be a rich dude, / my friend says of a guy we know. He has / enough money to keep him from finding / a job, not enough to just work on finding / himself. In money there are so many wrong / amounts. Zero, for instance.
Karla Van Vliet’s lyrical imagination has unearthed for us a tender relic, Fragments: From the Lost Book of the Bird Spirit, her third collection. Fragments is posited as salvaged pieces of an ancient spiritual text, written in an early defunct language (as suggested by the cuneiform-like marks on the book’s cover), ardent lines that are the survivors of extensive effacement and erasure.
« Know that one day the birds will come / for their sprightly cameos in your poems » / « You’ll try to trap them too energetically / at first, in your twenties »
The Destroyer does not just use this line in the bedroom. There is context. Of course, in the core of the earth some liquid and some iron.
I once heard in NPR about a guy in Brooklyn who had a rat appear in his toilet. Apparently it climbed up the pipes and when the man walked in, there it was, looking up at him. No. In this story, the guy first lifted the lid of the toilet. I don’t know if I thought about that fact when I first heard it, but the toilet had to have been closed for it to be true.
The daughters argue / when one begins / to clean. You are erasing / every last bit of him / the younger weeps, accusing / her sister of wiping away / signs and smells of the father
Looking into my / father’s dead mouth I get / a good look at / all that expensive