Naomi Thiers splits her poetry book, Made of Air, into two sections, Ordinary Women and Made of Air. The first half of the poems are dedicated to specific women, but a feminine presence is strong in the second half, through the narrator or, often, “she.” The poem, “Old People Waking,” ends with the lines, “And if everything hurts, it means / the current’s flowing; we hiss inside: / Life. Live.” This is the book’s message in a stanza: feel and acknowledge the pain and keep living.
The female narrator’s awareness of age centers on her own years lived, as she remains every age she has been. She ends the poem, “The Pearl” with the line, “For I feel my own 16-year-old inside, humming / eager, terrified—real as the slow / rain of wild and gentle losses.” Aging women aren’t often seen, but here, the narrator centers them in the poem’s scenes.
Made of Air by Naomi Thiers. Kelsay Books, October 2020.
Reviewer bio: Chloe Yelena Miller is a writer and teacher living in Washington, D.C.