Lightsey Darst. Coffee House, $16.95 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-56689-492-0
In her third collection, Darst (Dance) regards memories and their respective emotions as mental scars from which arise an accompanying ache that can reveal suppressed aspects of one’s personality. Darst writes of a wife’s admission of infidelity and the subsequent fallout, wielding words like knives and inciting a visceral reaction. “I’m always seeking a haunting// That was someone’s husband,” the speaker proclaims. The pain interwoven with a particular memory can prompt self-punishment and self-reflection. For example, in the second of the book’s five sections, Darst writes, “I slipped my skin/ walked off & left myself & left// feeling the first snow of the season falling/ cold on my face running to catch that downtown bus leaving.” The unadorned language and its languorous rhythm enhance the imagery, in addition to evoking battling feelings of simultaneous freedom and isolation. Darst asks, “Dear spirit, what shall I do with my life?/ Came back from the well: What shall I do with my death?” For Darst, to remember is to claim ownership of one’s pain and, by extension, one’s humanity. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/06/2017
Release date: 11/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
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