Witch Wife

Kiki Petrosino. Sarabande, $16.95 (80p) ISBN 978-1-946448-03-3
Petrosino (Hymn for the Black Terrific) crackles in her stunning third collection, as she dives deep into the ephemeral powers of the body, particularly those of black women. She examines the ways in which one’s body plays a part in shaping personal identity and what it means to be a woman in modern society. In “Young,” Petrosino reflects on being a teenager, lushly detailing how during that tumultuous period emotions can feel inescapable. She writes, “& I, in my runny custard body/ with its buried corkscrew of hate/ tell the tree my story-songs/ & think God can really hear.” In other poems, such as “New South,” she discusses how histories passed down from mother to daughter manifest in the physical body. She says, “am born/ light girl, light girl/ each step blessed but slant/ born in procession/ already my mother, her mother/ the same her mother, then/ her mother the same.” Petrosino seems to speak of maternal history as something that is infused into a daughter at birth. A similar idea crops up in “Ghosts” and “Prospera,” in which mothers and daughters maintain dependent relationships with deep roots. Cosmic images blend with the familiar and domestic to create an all-encompassing reading experience. Petrosino situates the body as a vessel for stories of both being and becoming. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/20/2017
Release date: 12/01/2017
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