This book has been getting a lot of attention, and it's well deserved. It's been on my list to read for a while and then my friend Julia recommended it. And you'd be a fool not to take a recommendation from Julia, so I moved it to the top of the list. Wow! What an amazing use of language and imagery. Akbar mixes straight-forward, direct speech with evocative, surprising pictures, and the result is powerful. Buy here.
From "Best Shadows"
I never told you / about the tiny beetle I saw crawl out of your ear, afraid // you wouldn't sleep in my bed again if you knew. / I wish you were here so I could bend a mirror // around your face, pour you back into you. Ah, / there goes another wish. Minute to minute I'm fine-- // right lung, left lung, blink--but the late hours / get so long.
From "Portrait of the Alcoholic With Cravings"
Do you like / your new home, tucked / away between brainfolds? To hold you / always seemed as unlikely // as catching the wind in an envelope.
From "Ways to Harm a Thing"
Throw scissors at it. / Fill it with straw / and set it on fire, or set it / off for the colonies with only / some books and dinner- / plates and a stuffed bear / named Friend Bear for me / to lose in New Jersey. / Did I say me? Things / have been getting / less and less hypothetical / since I unhitched myself / from your bedpost.
From "So Often the Body Becomes a Distraction"
See how / I am all rosejuice and wonderdrunk? See how / my throat is filling with salt? Boil me. Divide / me. Wrap me in paper and return me to earth. One day / I will crack open underneath the field mushrooms. / One day I will wake up in someone else's bones.