cover image When the Heart Needs a Stunt Double

When the Heart Needs a Stunt Double

Diane Decillis. Wayne State Univ, $16.99 trade paper (114p) ISBN 978-0-8143-4832-1

The ruminative second book from Decillis (Strings Attached) weaves memory, imagery, and observation to understand the anatomy of heartbreak. “I have a habit of resisting love,” Decillis writes. “I name it possibility and forget what that means—/ a habit of unearthing the past that taught me/ to get used to the leaving before the leaving.” The book contains riveting details—of the natural world, paintings and poems, bodily organs, home shopping networks, planets—which take the form of autopsy files, centos, and dreams. Decillis’s voice is playful and humorous, even under the weight of personal history and inquiry. Among the many birds that appear in the book (ravens, orioles, wild geese), there is a poem about marshmallow peeps “bloomed... in the microwave,” the speaker “roast[ing] them into gelatinous oneness.” In these memorable poems, Decillis suggests that despite the hauntings of memory and grief, the tired muscle “lifting and lowering/ the weight of love and sorrow,” there is wit, and even strange grace in “the gilded scar” that defines each human life. (Apr.)