cover image We Are All Things

We Are All Things

Elliott Colla and Ganzeer. Radix Media, $12 (44p) ISBN 978-1-7340487-1-1

The line between subject and object blurs in Colla and Ganzeer's clever illustrated chapbook, a narrative formed by prose poems. In rotating third-person narration, the objects in a Cairo bedroom observe a man during the immediate aftermath of a breakup. The woman tells her new ex, "You treat me like a doll. You pick me up and play with me sometimes, asking me what I want, pouring me tea." If he hasn't fully considered her interiority, he definitely hasn't pondered that perhaps his lamp and sheets and cassette player have feelings, as well. Appropriately, one of the longer passages is dedicated to an antique mirror: "He caught and held faces across his body, like they were fading tattoos. Sometimes, the room seemed full of ghost reflections and optical echoes." Colla's words are evocative and aching, even if the conceit feels a bit precious at times, though deep dives into topics such as the cotton pillow's trauma memory of a bug infestation are enjoyable. Ganzeer accents black-and-white ink drawings%E2%80%94the man's hooded eyes, a crumple of clothing%E2%80%94with flat Pepto Bismol pink, layering worlds on top of worlds in a small space that is not at all simple. The slim volume conveys a moment shot from a dozen angles, a room with tentacles that expand deep into time and space. (Mar.)