cover image Refugia


Kyce Bello. Univ. of Nevada, $14.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-948908-34-4

In Bello’s tender debut, mothers and children tend to a resilient Earth, even as anxiety about climate change overwhelms the landscape. Exploring the setting of the author’s home ground in northern New Mexico, Bello notes “Every planting season,/ worries of drought or calamity// fall silent as cisterns brim/ with the late snows of winter,” an observation that does nothing to dispel fears for the next season. A series of poems, each named for spaces whose climate persists despite widespread change around them, seek to emphasize the relationship between the scale of human life and geological time, noting how “we are barely a consequence.” A particularly powerful thread is Bello’s meditation on the shifting nature of belief in an age of impending apocalypse: “I am sometimes religious,/ but I do not know if it is god I believe in, or apples,// or if there is any difference.” If the poems sometimes overexplain their observations, losing some of their delicacy in the process, the most careful constructions still shine: “Yes, that is spring hatching between my hands.” Bello’s depiction of impending catastrophe serves as a vivid reminder of humanity’s role in its prevention. (Sept.)