cover image A Table That Goes On for Miles

A Table That Goes On for Miles

Stefania Heim, art by Rachel Farbriarz. Switchback, $16 trade paper (84p) ISBN 978-0-9786172-9-5

Sexy or regrettable couplings and uncouplings, Italian and German travels, babies, partners ("We have husbands. We don't need you") and very American quarter-life crises fade in and out through the sharpened images, fragmentary remarks and slightly bitter bits of wit that make up Heim's brightly serious first outing. Heim likes to play long titles ("Etiquette Lessons for a Reluctant Granddaughter Who Is Heir Apparent to the Throne"; "The Seasons Were Erasing the Years Again") off against poems that certainly leave something out, "each game," as she writes, "missing a single piece." Telling herself "Just figure/ out what's enough and wear it out," she lets herself range through brief prose poems, two- and three-word lines, frictionless glimpses of private disappointments, and free-floating images: "Sob of your iron/ on the black linen dress." Heim then sets these figments amid other imagined lives: a series of prose poems entitled "Moving Picture" condenses (sometimes beyond recognition) classic Hollywood films, while photo collages by the artist Rachel Fabriarz creates more counterpoint. Heim's own strenuous images can suggest roots in Plath, though her evasions and ironies, her things left unsaid, place her far closer to other young poets today (say, Natalie Shapero, or Monica Youn). Many readers will find her sensibility both unsettling, and winning: "A man is crawling and a woman is/ on fire%E2%80%A6 This is/ Judas Kiss. Do not suffer me." (May)