cover image Let Me Count the Ways: A Memoir

Let Me Count the Ways: A Memoir

Tomás Q. Morín. Univ. of Nebraska, $19.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-4962-2649-5

Combining elegiac vignettes with luminous prose, poet Morín (Machete) reflects on his coming of age in South Texas and life with obsessive-compulsive disorder. His disorder first emerged when, as a boy in the 1980s, he was told to keep watch for police on his father’s frequent missions to get heroin (when he couldn’t score, Morín writes, “a stomach folding like an accordion was the only music at night in our house”). With his parents’ attentions divided between his father’s other family (“He played the role of the Latin lover as if it had been written for him”), drug addiction, and occasional imprisonments, Morín was forced to reckon early on with feelings of alienation and loneliness. Resorting to silence, Morín comforted himself privately through anxious rituals—compulsively blinking and internally reciting “Left Right Left.” Those three words punctuate his account as he reflects on masculinity (when the word hombre “dropped... into the lake of my life, its rings spread silently into a future I couldn’t imagine”); recounts finding refuge in art and, later, teaching; and reconciles his fraught origins. With quotations from medical literature, historical treatises, and poetry threaded in, the narration is hypnotic, as is Morín’s evocative imagery. Readers will find it hard to put this one down. (Mar.)