This astonishing, self-assured debut leads us on an exploration to the stars and back, begging us to reconsider our boundaries of self, time, space, and knowledge. The speaker writes, “…the universe/is an arrow/without end/and it asks only one question;/How dare you?”
Zig-zagging through the realms of nature, science, and religion, one finds St. Francis sighing in the corner of a studio apartment, tides that are caused by millions of oysters “gasping in unison,” an ark filled with women in its stables, and prayers that reach God fastest by balloon. There’s pathos: “When my new lover tells me I’m correct to love him, I/realize the sound isn’t metal at all. It’s not the coins rattling/ on concrete, but the fingers scraping to pick them up.” And humor, too: “…even the sun’s been sighing Not you again/when it sees me.” After reading this far-reaching, inventive collection, we too are startled, space struck, our pockets gloriously “filled with space dust.”
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.40(d)|
About the Author
Paige Lewis is the recipient of the 2016 Editor’s Award in Poetry from TheFlorida Review as well as a GregoryDjanikianScholarship from The Adroit Journal. Their poems have appeared in Poetry,American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review,Best New Poets 2017, andelsewhere. They currently live and teach in Lafayette, Indiana.
Read an Excerpt
BECAUSE THE COLOR IS HALF THE TASTE
it’s a shame to eat blackberries in the dark,
but that’s exactly what I’m up to when a man
startles down the street screaming, The fourth
dimension is not time! He makes me feel stupid
and it’s hard to sleep knowing so little
about everything, so I enroll in a night class
where I learn the universe is an arrow
without end and it asks only one question:
How dare you? I recite it in bed, How dare
you? How dare you? But still I can’t find sleep.
So I go out where winter is and roll
around in the snow until a sharp rock
meets the vulnerable plush of my belly.
A little blood. Hunched over, I must look
like I’m hiding something I don’t want to share.
And I suppose that’s truethe sharp,
the warm wet. The color is half the pain. Why
would anyone else want to see? How dare they?
WHEN I TELL MY BELOVED I MISS THE SUN,
he knows what I really mean. He paints my name
across the floral bedsheet and ties the bottom corners
to my ankles. Then he paints another
for himself. We walk into town and play the shadow game,
saying, Oh! I’m sorry for stepping on your
shadow! and Please be careful! My shadow is caught in the wheels
of your shopping cart. It’s all very polite.
Our shadows get dirty just like anyone’s, so we take
them to the Laundromatthe one with
the 1996 Olympics–themed pinball machine
and watch our shadows warm
against each other. We bring the shadow game home
and (this is my favorite part) when we
stretch our shadows across the bed, we get so tangled
my beloved grips his own wrist,
certain it’s mine, and kisses it.
Ann Hodges, the first confirmed meteorite victim
I remember the doctor lifting my nightgown
to see how high the bruise climbed. He seemed
disappointed A thinner woman would’ve died. I was
small when I was young. Didn’t take up much space.
In fact, I could t all of me in a suitcase until I
was sixteen, and maybe I was dreaming of this
when the stone hit and I woke to light streaming
through the ceiling. I think I thought it was God,
since I’d been told it’s painful to bear witness.
At any rate, it was a blessing to my husband,
who pretends the bruise is still there.
At night, he lifts my nightgown and kneads my thigh.
He says, How deep, like he’s reaching into a galaxy.
He says, How full, and looks up to see if I wince.