This gem of a chapbook was donated to The Soapbox by Gina Myers. Somehow, this collection feels familiar yet distant, like an old letter you found in the back of a drawer, or a black-and-white movie. The poems are just fragmented enough to keep you guessing, while still retaining their narrative. She’s adept at pairing the everyday with the metaphysical, and the disorientation that results made me want to keep reading more.
Some choice examples, first from “Rhode Island”:
“From water and wood/
you build on the jetty/
a shrine, and place/
1 an acorn/
2 a button/
on the salt-worn planks…
visit the shrine/
(to view the film/
of a coat, departing)
And another excerpt, taken from the namesake poem “Document”:
“The roses are so still. Their nightly heads navigate/
a tub of unease, star-tall./
Who stamped the passports of the hordes of spring?/
The traveler’s oarless, rests on a promise…
…He still walks the park, in a scarf,
unaware he was made to endure…/
…He plays at being a thorn.”
There are other arresting moments throughout – for instance, in “Air Raid on Washington Square” where she riffs “But for girls, War/was love in the waiting room, matinees, half-past-4s:/ all my petite violences were excused”, or when she relates to the heart as a mollusk. Not to mention, the book itself is an objet d’art: it’s put together like a folder, sealed vertically with thread looped figure-eight style around two grommets, opening regularly. But, instead of having a booklet inside the folder, the folder IS the book, serving as the cover with the pages stapled in the inside left corner. Tying the whole package together is the embellished title, stamped into the front, otherwise empty save for the expanse of the gray-blue it’s printed on. The poems are so poignant, I’m glad they’re presented in so neat a manner.
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Review by Samantha Bell, Winter Intern 2016