cover image Sharks in the Rivers

Sharks in the Rivers

Ada Limón, Milkweed (PGW, dist.), $16 (96p) ISBN 978-1-57131-438-3

Vigor, intensity, and informality mark the volatile free verse of this third collection from Limón (this big fake world), who pays homage at once to the dangers in this world (and in the lives of her sometimes ill-fated acquaintances) and to the desires that drive us on. One page hopes ""to be utterly lost","" "to hide underneath Highway Twelve/ and listen to the automobiles go by"" another implores, " "Sumptuous mountain, midnight milkweed,/ come to the valley of neon and no-crying." Her sensibility draws her to wild landscapes of the West: California's Russian River, backcountry Washington State, and the Rio Grande valley, where Aztec myths seem at home in our day: of interest to some for the poet's Latino heritage, these sinewy odes, sexy glimpses ("my invisible birds are still intact") and visionary reminiscences should also appeal to readers who treasure the work of Jack Gilbert. Her lyric sequences use their power to scare, but also to reassure: "Don't worry," Limón declares, "I don't believe that hummingbirds are in love with me,/ no gods are ever in love with us." She has, the poems say, been in love herself—with people, mountains, and with day and with the night in which "The swinging sky patterns/ itself after the inside of a giant quiver." (Oct.)