cover image Holy Moly Carry Me

Holy Moly Carry Me

Erika Meitner. BOA, $17 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-942683-62-9

In her graceful fifth collection, Meitner (Copia) displays a sense of urgency informed by parenthood in this strange and particularly turbulent American moment. Hyper-aware of both suburban and rural landscapes, Meitner uncannily describes their features, such as “McDonald’s golden arches tenting/ the night with overwhelming sadness.” At a Dollar General store, it occurs to her that “I am a Jew and the mother/ of one white son and one black son. I’ve been// writing about guns lately.” She wonders, “What kind of people own guns?”—realizing that many of her neighbors do even as gun-related deaths have become terrifyingly commonplace in America. Carrying on her chronicle of American violence and the possibilities of redemption, Meitner’s long poem “Threat Assessment” draws on Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality, profiles the notorious “Birdman of Alcatraz,” and lands in “the massive auditorium/ my husband lectures in/ three times a week from/ a raised stage to 500/ students about principles/ of microeconomics: supply/ and demand, efficiency/ and equity. How easy/ it would be, how efficient,/ for a lone gunman to/ target that one room.” And yet in light of such potential cruelty, Meitner’s poems show that though “we’ve been// tested and tested,/ most days, we still/ feel blessed, and// wish you peace/ in spite of our/ hardships.” (Sept.)