Because by Joshua Mensch

Wow. This book is powerful, and not necessarily enjoyable, but beautifully written and important. Mensch starts many of the poems with “Because . . .,” maybe to try to explain the unexplainable—the abuse of a child by a man, and the need for the child to believe it is something other than abuse. These poems are told from the point of view of an adolescent, caught up in a cult-like grip of manipulation and harm, who can’t yet see himself as a victim. The book is subtitled “a lyric memoir.” Poetry might be the truest way to approach this material. Mensch pulls it off expertly. I highly recommend this book. Buy here.


Because the room is bright,

sky-lit, painted white

with a mirrored wall

and a queen-sized bed;

because it is July,

hot, and I am half-

undresses already;

because I let him

undress me the rest of the way, look

when he tells me to look . . .