Prayer to a Suicide - Brother, when they laid you down I touched the break in lashes where the chicken pox had blown the lid up long ago, small brushes that stroked out your seeing hours. I wish the clouds would wash us down with unrepentant power, that pounding rain would soak in to your newly opened grave. Our mother's breath is broken, her C scar tingles after many years. Our father has not spoken. All night the faucet drives hard tears down into the silent house. They say it is beyond repair. Wherever you are, cry for us. At the heart of this unusually accomplished and affecting first book of poetry is the idea of the hinge - the point of connection, of openings and closings. Maggie Dietz situates herself in the laminal present, bringing together past and future, dream and waking, death and life. Formally exact, rigorous, and tough, these poems accept no easy answers or equations. Dietz creates a world alive with detail and populated with the everyday and strange: amusement-park horses named Virgil and Sisyphus, squirrels hanging over tree branches "like fish."
By turns humorous and pained, direct and mysterious, elegiac and elegant, the poems trace for us the journey and persistence of the spirit toward and through its "perennial fall" - both the season and the human condition. Cumulatively, the work moves toward a fragile transcendence, surrendering to difficulty, splendor, and strangeness.
Maggie Dietz is lecturer in creative writing at Boston University and assistant poetry editor for Slate magazine. She is coeditor of three books, most recently An Invitation to Poetry: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology.