cover image The Color of Mesabi Bones: Poems and Prose Poems

The Color of Mesabi Bones: Poems and Prose Poems

John Caddy. Milkweed Editions, $8.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-915943-40-1

The opening poems here introduce the ``Giant,'' the ``child'' and the ``boy''--recurrent figures that transform a commonplace father and son into fairy-tale characters. Caddy ( Eating the Sting ) proffers vivid memories of growing up during WW II, when cereal boxes printed ``targets'' of Hitler and Tojo, and children salvaged and saved to aid the war effort. Later, accounts of horrendously beaten women, children and animals are tempered with love, as in the accomplished ``The Conspirators,'' where two brothers unite for the first time in fantasizing revenge against their abusive father. Most pieces are presented from a boy's point of view, with pathos as well as self-knowledge: ``All women are the mother / who is a wet wound / he can never close. . . . / He must not heal himself with them.'' Fluid and accessible, Caddy's poems carefully detail the milieu of several generations of Minnesota miners, men who yearn for sport and assume that ``boys are fair game.'' Illustrated. (Dec.)