I have been reading this issue of Plume now for a couple of weeks, each time going in to reread the poetry, catch parts of it I might have missed. Each piece has its own unique pull, making this issue of Plume one for everyone. But as a monthly magazine, a new one will be our shortly, so make sure to read this one soon.
Kim Addonizio’s “The Easy Way to Stop Drinking” pulled me in as the narrator compares herself to a fly when she’d rather not be, hoping to be able to reverse time:
Take my wings. Make me an earthworm,
nine-hearted. Even if seven of them
are already smashed and oozy.
It happens I am sick of being a fly.
I was happiest when I was a maggot,
talking to birds in the woods,
crouching at the edge of the creek
spied on by invisible fairies.
Kwame Dawes is wonderful at developing small details that round out the pieces, grounding the reader in the moment. In “Creek,” he creates a peaceful scene where you can actually feel the stillness, hear the silence, as the main character floats down the river and stares at the sky. In “What God Says,” he shows a woman who, by God, owns her husband’s body:
when I can smell the funk of another woman
in your skin, even when I know you don’t
know that it is all mine, even then,
I still stand over you, place my hand over
your chest and put my face against your face,
feel the breath of you on me; and in this
silence, I say to you, “Man, this is mine . . .
And I was definitely pulled in with Alan Shapiro’s “On Thumbing through Smith’s Recognizable Patterns of Human Malformation,” in which the narrator contemplates the images of two dwarfs in a book of human malformation. What is compelling is the boy who does not smile for the camera:
the camera flashes
fixing him inside the isn’t
of what everyone else is,
which is why he isn’t
smiling like his sister, no,
not now, not here, not
even if asked to, he won’t
be like the other smiling
children in the book . . .
“A Wedding in the Hotel” by Chase Twichell has its own sense of emotional twists as a character notices a star and a plane in the sky, distances apart from each other:
Why does this make me sad?
It’s the ancient pang, a blue-black sigh
from the time of first love,
not loneliness, but the knowledge
that the star and the plane will never touch . . .
And of course the issue is packed with more pull in poems from Angela Ball, Brenda Hillman, Troy Jollimore, Dorothea Lasky, Davis McCombs, Charlie Smith, Diane Vreuls, and Aleš Debeljak. Plume is worth taking the time to read, and read again.