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Lydia Davis
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Metaphors for Miscarriage

Metaphors for Miscarriage - Mackenzie Carignan This ebook consists of 10 poems, and the titles are marvelous, from “my wound is a simmering punctuation mark” to “this leak is an everlasting stain” to “drain has become a worthy depth.” The series of poems is built upon the concrete, as you can see in the titles – drain, leak, born – and each poem is structured in the same way. There’s a lone word that triggers the next line, for example from the beginning of the first poem:
that left you wondering about what kindling

does it to smile, that you though, maybe in the sunken morning
I appreciated the words as anchors, to hold me as I launched into each line, since I often felt I didn’t know where I was going, which can be good. But often I didn’t know where I’d just been, which was sometimes frustrating. Not that I’m not a friend of mystery. I love mystery that takes me somewhere, but in places I felt closed out of these poems. In “distraction is the blankest shape,” for example –

character style fast menu

twice alive not wearing monster

In those lines, and at other points in the series, I was at sea. Maybe some of the closing out is intentional, since the ravaging of miscarriage is personal, even if you want someone to understand. The poem “the stone now is my wall” likely acknowleges this – the cold stone, the building materials, the rocks “that keep me honest.”

In the second poem, “born is the cleanest foliage,” the anchor words are "egg/ bowl/ nest/ dead/ leaf/ egg/ bowl/ nest/ dead/ leaf.” This poem is spare and clear. “Nest” is both “a tapestry” at the same time it “flew into tornado and glass,” while “egg / cannot be likened to a tree” and “was there but happened too quickly.”

There were points that were exquisite and I knew exactly what the poet was saying. In some cases it couldn’t have been clearer, such as this harrowing pairing -
who knew it could be so minute

and –

feeling an avalanche between my hips

and –

it is not an erasure. giant weight of your own growth
I admired this short collection and, for all its cool tone, it is emotional poetry.