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These poems are sometimes terrifyingly raw, sometimes gentle.  Here's a sample from the middle of the book--after we've glimpsed insights into mothering, smothering, and awakening.


The Daughter Who Left


Reconstruct that last day: her, standing in the doorway, suitcase in hand

straining to leave as though strapped to us, always tearful in her memories

reluctant gratitude behind closed eyes, but so anxious to get out.


She is everywhere in this house, frozen behind picture frames

trapped in a smile that changes every time the smudged glass is dusted

sometimes, she is happy. Mostly, she is barely tolerant.


There are conversations half-remembered that take on new meaning

each time they’re replayed, new depth: wisdom beyond the years

of an unhappy five-year-old, harbinger to the years of dead silence far ahead.




Several pages later we find this--and include it here because it helps to explain the book's cover--an almost surreal needlepoint done by the author.  We leave it to you, dear reader, to figure out what degree of control and spontaneity come together in creating edgy poems and in needling a human figure onto canvas.  The thread is there.


 On the Right Path


 In this room written entirely on paper

there is comfort in the nodding and agreeing of flowers; they

tell me that I am not just a crazy woman sitting alone

rambling about dark matter to an invisible audience

sketching out the history of myth in thread and canvas


tumbling inward into myself like a monk

quiet, at peace.


My daughter says she’s worried about me

being alone all the time, wants to know

what I’ve been writing but I won’t show her.

Someday, I will reveal the secrets

to the future of humanity to her, the origin of snails

the language of pills. But not now.


 And still later, this tribute to a woman's strength



The Things that Come in the Mail


the flowers come in the mail, with the cards, with the lovely notes

expressing sympathy for our loss. I don’t want to answer the door anymore

want to let the tiny wreaths pile up, wither away.


I smile, thank the delivery man for my mail, I smile at my husband

I smile

at everyone. I call relatives to let them know I’m fine, I don’t need

anything. I thank them for their kindness and for the flowers.

my husband compliments me on my strength, I reply with

another smile. my face hurts from smiling so much. at night


I find myself talking to the missing baby, holding

my hands over my stomach, protecting nothing. I shuffle through

these days, find comfort in repetitive tasks. I vacuum constantly.

I crochet mittens for everyone. I turn inside myself


hold back everything but this smile, the one I show my family

my husband—it’s all I’ve got left.