cover image Let’s Not Live on Earth

Let’s Not Live on Earth

Sarah Blake. Wesleyan Univ., $15.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-8195-7765-8

Blake (Mr. West) examines Earth’s monsters, fear, and loss of fear as she turns her attention to new worlds. Broken into two sections, the book begins with a series of highly attractive poems that dwell in the mundane and are edged with something sinister. The mesmerizing 26-part poem “Monsters” humanizes the eponymous creatures and yet still terrifies: “So many new ways to wake a body/ if the eyes are in the hands.// Think, too, if you lifted your baby’s shirt/ and found eyes in the soft skin there.” The second half of the collection, “The Starship,” is a second-person narrative poem about building a life on a new planet. “That’s/ something you’ll be doing a lot now: adding/ on Earth to the ends of your sentences,” the speaker says, adjusting to her new circumstances. Living on another planet, married with a new baby, the “you” in the poem reads about Earth: “another mass shooting,/ a factory exploding, fires in Colorado,/ a new all-electric car from Honda,/ and the first woman President. You cry reading about everything.” There’s relief in being so far away from Earth’s violence and trivial struggles, yet Blake relates how “it feels like/ you fell, quick enough to/ reach the bottom of a well,/ and all you can do is look up.” (Dec.)