Fall in the Midwest is a time for snuggles, blankets, reading, and a new issue of The Boiler. While the fiction and nonfiction were enjoyable, it was the poetry that warmed me up inside. In “Things I Know,” Megan Collins reminisces about part of her family she never knew—her grandfather. Fall in the Midwest is a time for snuggles, blankets, reading, and a new issue of The Boiler. While the fiction and nonfiction were enjoyable, it was the poetry that warmed me up inside.
In “Things I Know,” Megan Collins reminisces about part of her family she never knew—her grandfather. Yet through her relatives’ stories, there are a few things she does know:
He loved the insulation business like he hated
his son’s dog, that malamute with a made-up name
who chewed the chair legs and stole the Sunday paper.
He once made a sale while delirious from fever.
I understand there was a sick room.
I understand that the light came amber through the windows.
sam sax strongly uses word play and line breaks throughout his contributed poem “Silent Auction.” One of the most clever uses comes in these two lines: “might have mistaken my blood / for a symbol :: crashing.”
Brittney Scott also takes a creative approach in “Contemporary Omens,” working in those omens that Gmail, TiVo, Google, and Snap-Chat can bring about. And in her “Point of Entry,” she talks about the paranoia that something is always out to get you, “The hoary oak drops its legacy // on the roof nightly, the damage it does / to silence, to forgetfulness.” Regardless of anything you worry about, “All of it goes on without you.”
Perhaps my favorite piece in this issue is Kathleen Jones’s “The Dunes are Sawdust,” in which the metaphor builds upon itself right to the very end. Jones’s use of imagery is creative, uses the reflection, or perhaps the shadow, of dark clouds to signify “The sky bruises the ocean, clouds low and leaky already.” Although the entire poem is powerful, the power lies in the last few lines as it is all pulled together:
Every headache I get is an unkind machine, a tempest
that melts the beach away, wet sand sticky
against the hands trying to hold the shore in place.
Shore: the horizon an ocean can see when it tries
to imagine beyond its own churning self.
If there’s one thing I know after reading Brian Porter’s “Long Road to Arcadia,” an excerpt from his in-progress novel, it’s that I’d never be a successful large animal vet or cattle raiser. Stan, used to working alongside his mentor, gets called out to a farm for his first calf delivery. When he shows up, he finds that the cow is knee-deep in the creek and the calf has been dead inside her for several days. Porter goes into great detail on the operation, but ultimately shows that, like Stan’s mentor advises, some things are easy, but it’s the hard ones that “keep life interesting.”
Populated alongside imaginative sketches by Kari Garon and the photographs of Pete Madzelan, the content of The Boiler is a perfect remedy for the rainy fall Saturday afternoon.