cover image Pyramid of Bone

Pyramid of Bone

Thylias Moss. University of Virginia Press, $11 (43pp) ISBN 978-0-8139-1202-8

Rage and unyielding honesty suffuse this collection, the eighth volume in the Callaloo Poetry Series. In her second volume of poems, Moss ( Hosiery Seams on a Bowlegged Woman ) raises questions about her black heritage, womanhood, God, culturein reverberating, realistic language: ``God blinks again. The earth is still there unchanged. / And poor God cannot pass the buck, he made the buck.'' But her sensibility is surrealistic also: ``When I look down at the wreckage on the wall of eggs that / came out of me, I see what's inside is as white and / gold as Heidi.'' She transforms emotion into unsettling poems with exotic metaphors and images: ``Only the seamstress changes, / the vinegar she's become cannot sterilize the needle /before it penetrates.'' When the poet's tone turns strident, the book suffers, but on the whole Moss remains in control, her poems simultaneously enchanted and pragmatic, unsentimental and affecting: ``The miracle was not birth but that I lived despite my crimes.'' (Feb.)