cover image Starshine & Clay

Starshine & Clay

Kamilah Aisha Moon. Four Way, $15.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-935536-95-6

Moon (She Has a Name) rages against racist violence in America in her second collection, while also finding moments of beauty in nature as well as human kindness. The specter of police brutality looms large as she lists its victims, including Michael Brown (“man child shattered/ in a broken promised land”), Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice. Moon elegantly imagines the quiet despair of Rice’s mother: “nothing bangs the screen door/ or needs new shoes, nothing eats my cooking.” She juxtaposes these current events with their historical counterparts—lynchings, concentration camps, slavery—and a skillful sestina about a Jefferson Davis statue in Mississippi illuminates the lingering terror of Confederate memorials. Moon advances benevolence as an antidote to the poison of persecution. She writes of a deceased friend living on in the form of organ donation: “I must have dined near what remains/ of you, faithful organ/ thriving in a body.” And despite instances of clichéd metaphors, she crafts some remarkable imagery, particularly when describing her mother’s chest after a partial mastectomy (“Not a half-carved/ turkey, thankless,/ but a woman”) as well as her own experience undergoing uterine surgery. Throughout, Moon explores the body and the many traumas it must absorb, confronting death, survival, and the space in between with grace and radiance. (Sept.)