Though the library was closed, the lights had briefly blazed on, and she guessed Baker had broken in again. When Susan rushed through the front door and saw Baker, she grabbed the desk phone and shouted that she was dialing 911. Baker then fled through the side door. Then Susan called me, the librarian of this one-room rural Vermont library.
Victoria Chang’s collection, Obit, seems to have anticipated the prolonged good-byes of 2020. In it, Chang says good-bye to loved ones, feelings, objects—everything we feel and know, who we were and where we’re heading—especially when someone we love is dying, and our sense of awareness is heightened.
This stunning book-length poem, broken up into 103 sections, examines the grief and trauma associated with losing a young sister from suicide. Threaded also through these lyrics is a conversation with Paul Celan’s Selected Poems and Dante’s Inferno.
What is metaled, what is stretched taut enough?
What’s said –an albatross “happens”– back-lit by white and golden flurries of clouds.
Through a shop window, I watch a man / strip a mannequin / down to her fiberglass shell.
Dana Roeser’s All Transparent Things Need Thundershirts is a book of long, narrow poems that move lightly and deftly from one strand of experience to another, in the hope that such leaps will reveal a single underlying pattern of experience. This hope is fulfilled poem after poem, with the work never feeling overdetermined.
A balding man entering a tavern, nothing unusual, but a bump on top of his left ear caught my attention, reminding me of Forge. Could it have been my enigmatic classmate from decades ago?
One cannot prepare for slaughter.
Last month, a cognition test for your son:
Does a rock float in water?
In the San Francisco
of my twenties, we were like trees
pressed against each other, larger
than what we longed for.
I join a bereavement group
But I last for one session
Marriages over fifty years
Long battle with cancer
I am the only one
Who isn’t crying
You touched my chest with your fingertips
as I lay next to you trying to sleep.
“Try to rest,” you said, by which you meant,
Gird your loins, my love, and prepare your heart,
for tomorrow I may leave you.