cover image Call It in the Air

Call It in the Air

Ed Pavlić. Milkweed, $16 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-57131-548-9

Pavlic´’s elegiac and genre-bending latest (after Let It Be Broke) considers the memory and marginalia of his late sister, Kate, for whom he felt “a viral kind of love.” Lyrical passages alternate between sitting next to Kate in the ICU (“It’s like sitting next to a stranger in a movie while watching a kiss”) and childhood memories (“I’d seen you smelt the elements”) as Pavlic´ offers a vulnerable, visceral portrait of life and grief. He frequently confronts reality in passages that are gorgeous and terrifying: “Your skin’s patina mummifies you,” he writes. Memory, family conflict, and the pieces of an artistic (and often misunderstood) life coalesce into a beautiful collage that is true to life’s uncertainties and incongruences. It is precisely the act of assembling disparate parts that seems to matter to Pavlic´, which also rings true to the way grief operates, offering no justification, only fragments. Of Kate, he writes: “Your life was a distilled assault on the foundations beneath any reason for anything.” “There’s art each day,” he assures, and this memorable collection is a moving tribute to a love that shined and endures. (Oct.)