My lover tells me I am like this place./I tell him what I miss: the slap of leaves/on skin and air that's like a damp embrace. The poems of this debut have a Cinderella-like innocence, transforming ugliness into beauty and waving the wand of well-crafted metaphor over all they encounter. The horrific suicide of a grandfather, a mother's cancer, the mourning for a stillborn child, the potential foreclosure of a neighbor's farm are all recounted with a refined clarity. Yet through it all, de los Santos manages to frame life's traumas with a voice that can seem borrowed from the Stage Manager in Our Town: Some years/were fair, but most were bad./The taxes, worse than weevil, tried/to take each dime she had. However, there are also poems, such as Io's Gift, that evoke, through their subtlety and sensuality, the pleasures of the ever-changing consciousness of the female body: I learned myself, bit/ by bit, or maybe I/ should say I dawned/ upon myself, a slow dawning. There are also glamorous poems, including Supermodel, and Perfect Dress, in which the poet indulges in herself as an object of perfect beauty: Someone will murmur, /'She is sublime, '/will be precisely right, and I will step, /with incandescent shoulders, / into my perfect evening. In its worked simplicity, this is a first book that offers a formula of hope and clarity when confronting life's trials and tribulations.
Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
Number of pages: 90
Weight: 91 g
Dimensions: 215 x 134 x 8 mm