You’ve heard that one should never judge a book by its cover. One also should never judge a book by its size.
This past week, I read the chapbook 40 Watts, by C.D. Wright, beautifully produced by Octopus Books. Stark with no words to hide behind, its spare language speaks in tension with its specific, harrowing images. It is disjointed the way grief is disjointed, the way memory comes back in fragments. And at the same time, it is a refusal–to lose, to surrender completely to the way a loss sits on one’s shoulder (like that chicken).
Here is one poem:
Day-Old Widow Poem
He smiles as if but is not breathing
a moment ago he was in his chair
reading she was lighting the fire
she thought she heard a book
drop to the floor he didn’t answer
in an instant she sensed it
a tangible space across an opening
she could neither enter nor fill
as if his eye hit upon a passage
elegant and cruel and true
(The hen is in “Poem With A Girl Almost Fifteen.”)