Saturday poetry pick: Only as a Body

Today’s poetry pick is Jessica Young’s Only as a Body, from Bateau Press. This chapbook hums with metaphor, the tension between the concrete and abstract. You can see it on the cover: the title paired with images of a plate, cutlery, and kitchen utensils. The book begins with washing dishes and the usual domestic tensions and travels through a relationship, a break-up, a leaving, loss–all this in 25 pages.

Here’s one poem from the book:

The Day Before He Moves to China

Walking into a room that looks
nothing like the room in which
we met, reminds me that I will
never again touch the small of
Michael’s back. This phrasing
of “never again” is enough to cut
my breath short, such that I
must take more breaths to fill
my lungs with air. Doing this,
for even ten seconds, is not
comfortable, and so I pep myself
up a little, say, Jessica,
you lived for 168 months before
him, and lived fully, you can
keep going now. And I nod
along to myself, feel pleased
I can psyche myself up so.
And then I spend six full
minutes, in the unlit room,
crying, feeling my shoulder
blades jut out, as if to leave me.

from Only as a Body, by Jessica Young