Star Lake

Arda Collins. The Song Cave, $18.95 trade paper (74p) ISBN 978-1-73727-754-5

Quiet quirks of invention ring throughout the bracing second book by Collins (It Is Daylight). “The past and the future/ in my feelings/ move coherently today. I can feel this/ as I feel my original sight inside me,” she writes, beckoning her reader into a world “familiar but not known.” Realms, minds, and moods are separated by porous membranes, and “Time comes through a face like a star.” Weather is as likely to blow through the mind as it is to traverse mountain, meadow and sea: “The Easter in my head/ is there as though/ it’s in the room,/ like hearing the forested road outside/ through the window.” Genocide haunts the poet, who identifies as “half Armenian, half Greek.” Within an uncanny, ongoing present, the deaths of ancestors, parents, and strangers recur: “A war happens/ far from you, and inside/ your face is where it lies.” And yet, “We don’t die once but many times.” Reassuringly, she says, “Death is long/ and changes.” For all the book’s sorrow, an almost giddy resilience sounds on every page as “May green shines through the sun,” letting joy swirl through every carefully crafted line of this dark and wild outing. (Apr.)
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