cover image Bianca


Eugenia Leigh. Four Way, $17.95 trade paper (124p) ISBN 978-1-954245-44-0

In her piercing and fearlessly vulnerable second collection, Leigh (Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows) examines how to navigate a life of motherhood and illness in the aftermath of childhood abuse, providing a testament of unparalleled honesty: “a man who’d chase his baby with a knife// makes up half my blood,” she writes in “Family Medical History.” In “Consider the Sun,” she ponders the question, “Is it better to die in the struggle or to survive it?” Such moments are bracing and real, grounding the work in a spirit of generosity and candor. Throughout, Leigh wrestles with the consequences of a history of abuse: “my hells/ would hunt me in my sleep.” And yet tenderness, or the hope of it, remains as she ponders the universe in “Reionization”: “It’s possible, then,” Leigh writes, “if we believe our astronomers and angels,/ that our abyss is temporary—.” Wrestling with what is seemingly impossible, these poems weave a powerful tale of perseverance: “Tell me,” Leigh writes, “I am not the thing/ my child will have to survive.” The result is a sensitive, insightful, and commanding portrait of motherhood and survival. (Mar.)