cover image Bone Confetti

Bone Confetti

Muriel Leung. Noemi (SPD, dist.), $15 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-934819-60-9

Leung makes a “gesture towards love, plain/ but incomplete” in an elegant, elegiac debut collection set in a haunted and highly ritualized space. That setting, “In Absentia-land,” is suffused with the color red and features a funeral and a wedding as well as processions of bone and ash. The collection’s speaker mourns an unnamed addressee, yet even in mourning the speaker’s energy draws the reader’s attention: “It is this terrible logic that makes me flail harder.” Bodies are central to the work, and in addition to the poetic use of such organs as the heart and lungs, Leung brings in the body’s filters (a “licked” liver; a spleen in which “treason does not linger”) to complete a portrait of bodily sorrow. The sounds that inhabit the body also convey new sensations: “I am swollen with sound, humming.” That sound isn’t simply noise. “Every rumble should suggest feel,” marking the continuous and subconscious motions of living, something Leung describes as akin to “each center slowly moving.” Leung contrasts this embodied cognition with the word robot, which she uses as shorthand for some kind of thoughtless repetition. In Leung’s cyclical collection the mourning never ends, everyone left looking for “Something to wear upon our persons, which are prone to splinter and discord, jutting every which way.” (Dec.)