The poems in Paige Ackerson-Kiely's third collection are set primarily in the rural northeast of America, and explore rural poverty, entrapment, captivity, violence, and a longing to vanish. Ranging from free verse to a long noir prose poem, they examine who her, or our, "captors" might be. Ackerson-Kiely is interested in characters who are aware of their foibles, and who find ways to turn away from those problems in search of connection and freedom.
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Inventory of Ramparts
The pier shed its long splinters into the lake.
A dinghy rubbed the side of the dock but the dock was still.
Some kids ditched a canoe in the reeds
—the boy’s voice was a reed—
they pulled it up the embankment by a rope where no one could see it from water
or shore. His voice covered everything.
This isn’t an opportunity to talk about the body,
how many dogs you get to have over the course of a life. I’d reckon 6, if you take
good care of them. I’m going back in time to hold the boy’s head underwater.
Just to give him a little scare. The canoe had vanished when they returned
and his voice became a basket pushed down a river—nothing specific—
and anyway, this isn’t an occasion to talk about the body. I’m busy going, I need
to go, back through those boggy years to kiss all of the dogs. Hard, on the mouth.
Table of Contents
Inventory of Ramparts 1
The Lesson 5
Simple Story Of Illumination 8
The Rose Bush 9
The Cardinal 10
Folding Chairs 11
All Around The Mulberry Bush 16
The Pine Tree 17
Working Stiff 21
Adopting a New Currency 22
Work as a Man 23
Winter Moth 25
Meadow Redaction 26
Ballad of Little Preparation 28
Liberation Poem 29
The Grandmothers 30
Hole in the Wall 31
Book About a Candle Burning in a Shed 35
Love Poem #41 59
Ellesmere Island 60
Springtime in America 61
How the Town Looks 63
Made to Lie Down in Green Pastures 65
The Last Thing You See 74