cover image My Second Work

My Second Work

Bridget Lowe. Carnegie Mellon Univ, $15.95 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-0-88748-654-8

The contemplative second collection from Lowe (At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky) blends stories of childhood and family with astute reveries and allegories, fusing the familiar and the strange and evoking the qualities of a modern parable. At Lowe’s best, she employs metaphor with kinetic, visceral lyricism: “Modesty, your perfect face, it’s you/ I bend for though I veer, I/ strike my silver/ helmet upon the devil’s/ lip, ache and swing, rise and beg./ Employ my heart, its/ abundant meat. It reeks for you. It does not fake.” Among her most poignant and universal analogies, she likens a “unicorn in captivity” to a person psychologically trapped in a state of self-imprisonment: “There were no visible/ wounds. Still, something bled/ and I couldn’t tend to it./ There was no fence, there was/ no leash. Still, I stood at the edge/ of something, looking out./ There was no blood, it was just/ the juice, dripping from the fruit—/ pomegranates—that hung/ from the dirty trees and burst/ and marked me in jerks from above.” The confounding nature of pain and suffering is transformed by Lowe’s modern and accessible verse. (Feb.)