Amy Lemmon’s book of poems, The Miracles, is a meditation on life after loss, and its themes are motherhood, love, and aging. Lemmon writes, “The structure of the book was inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue and Riffs (1949) for solo clarinet and jazz ensemble.”
I sat on the basement floor of the courthouse reading through old death records. Outside the afternoon sun blasted the streets and sidewalks of the small Kentucky town. But down there it was cool and humid. Whitewashed stone walls glistened and streaked with dirty moisture. An air conditioner rattled in the only window, blocking out the sun.
I got the results from the paternity test and an offer for a new job on the same day. The paternity test was positive; I was the father. The new job was cutting meat at Chives, a specialty grocery store in Boulder. On my lunch break I texted my twin sister Maria that I wanted to share two things with her on Skype. I told my coworker, Lance, the news after work at Hank’s, our regular bar.
Another surly October morning on Rathdangan Farm, the name of our rocky little homestead in the foothills of the Sugarloaf Range, and Mother Nature was in a nasty mood. Her swirling wind bossed the sycamore leaves around the farmyard, and wisps of her clammy fog still clung to the steep mountain peak in the distance. My mother—we called her Mammy— was a whirlwind of work, as usual: milking cows, feeding calves and pigs, washing clothes, holding it all together.
A shoe stands / at the forest edge, / tongue depressed / with spectacles / and one gray sock.
My husband shared his cigarettes with me + so when I die / I do with lungs like eggplants. My floral dress snapped at the waist because
Bad Harvest is a resonant folk song that fills the chambers of the future with echoes of the past. Its complex twists of hereditary and personal relations with language and work open a chasm of concern for the future that Dzvinia Orlowsky locates and does a little dance on the edge of. She stares openly, even mockingly, into the pit of impermanence and unpredictability, spinning the prescribed doom and mortality of what we all know shall end: health, love, and livelihood.
One can hold a crossbow and a pussy / Willow with the same affection. / One can dream her own body in the arms / of the blue Mary
Jane was handing someone a bouquet of satay, / gushing about Muller’s Foreign Cinema and Laszlo, / when I told her about the abortion. A party / not the best place to breathe new disclosures, to say: / The baby would be three years old now.
Finally the war was over / we could go home but / wife was wary. Those houses? / said, watching the news. / >Those stores? schools? police? Fake. / believe what you see.
A Review of Taneum Bambrick’s VANTAGE
This week, GMR’s editor in chief, Liz Powell, is blogging at the Best American Poetry site.
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