American Samizdat by Jehanne Dubrow

For the month of August, I’m guest editing Sundress Publication’s The Wardrobe Best Dressed blog, which promotes a recent book by a woman or non-binary author every week. This week, I’ve selected Jehanne Dubrow’s American Samizdat. Dubrow’s book takes moments from everyday life and spotlights them in a startling way. The emotion of this book will feel familiar, but the language and view will surprise. It’s immersed in the anxious watch of the US today, with the constant stream of news. The images are condensed and haunted, small and strong impressions. Buy Dubrow’s book here. And check out The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed here for more selections.

Selection 1 (Untitled):

I keep receiving boxes filled with air,

delivered overnight by carriers

 

who do not knock or ring the bell.

What it means to be modern—

 

packages of breath in plastic pouches.

I puncture them with a knife

 

to hear them gasp

like someone learning of a death.

Selection 2 (Untitled):

Think of Clytemnestra

standing on the purple cloth,

 

her hands a history of red.

Such joy, she says, I struck him twice,

 

sometimes a knife

the only power that we hold.

 

Outside the day is gutted—it bleeds

its closing scene across the grass.