cover image Useful Junk

Useful Junk

Erika Meitner. Boa, $17 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-950774-53-1

The vulnerable and energetic sixth book from Meitner (Holy Moly Carry Me) explores the effect of technology, memory, and travel on the self. "Getting a little misty at the register," she writes, revisiting a moment in her New York City past while checking out in an uninspiring CVS of her rural present, "I want to rub up against slick/ subway tile, feel my back pressed to a bathroom stall door// in a bar where the band is playing no one's favorite song/ about yearning, or nostalgia, or sadness with a hand/ down my pants." Navigating a pregnancy scare on the cusp of menopause, she riffs on fertility, adoption, and the Holocaust: "There's an unspoken mandate to procreate/ when all your people your family were actually slaughtered" ("My List of True Facts"). In these poems of yearning, the body's accumulated knowledge moves toward the future: "Some field with an abandoned hotel where// we'll sit on the edge of the cracked/ empty pool with its peeling blue paint and recount// all the ways we forgot to touch each other." This layered work is full of intriguing observations and tender, incisive reflections on human experience. (Apr.)