Days Like Prose

Alan Michael Parker, Author Alef Books $12 (48p) ISBN 978-1-882509-04-1
With a delicate lucidity, the poems in this first collection explore varieties of solitude. At the center is the three-part sequence ""The Widow,"" which details the day's activities and musings of its title character with a gentle, effective specificity, as in this evocation of a sickroom: ""the drawn blinds pulsing like a vein;/ the carpet mined with lemon drops,/ used Kleenex, and the overturned/ gray flowers of a jigsaw puzzle."" Bereavement and loss yield a loneliness that is itself a kind of death, ""like the summer she was/ condemned to summer camp,/ writing home to tell her parents she had died."" The sonnet ""A Little Something"" begins with the conditional ""Because a doe broke through the Saunders' fence/ to starve beside the heated pool, her thin/ ribs cupped like fingers leaking light. Again, the kettle whistles, dogs bark--the sense we make of being singularly here evaporates."" Even in a traditional wedding song, ""Epithalamium: In Our Cities,"" Parker limns reticence. The inevitable solitariness of two lives belies the union of matrimony: ""My first kiss was a tin can;/ yours a medieval etching."" The deft, formal quality of these poems coupled with Parker's eye for the telling detail make this a book of stirring, quiet beauty. (May)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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