Highly observant and deeply moving, the 75 poems in this collection from award-winning poet Jessica Goody utilize themes of difference and affinity to open vistas into the nature of reality.

Whether describing the confines of an iron lung or the liberty of the open sea, her nuanced language delivers unforgettable images of a world that holds more questions than answers. There is pain here, and loss, but also joy and freedom in which the fetters of physicality become the means to explore what it means to be fully human.

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Stockings

 

Second Prize Winner of the 2015 Reader’s Digest Poetry Contest

The delicate cobwebbed stockings are scarred with stitches.

Fresh tears like flesh wounds gape at kneecap and heel from

a day of pounding pavement, waiting in soup kitchen queues.

They are soaked in the tin washtub, rinsed of the day’s grime 

of sweat and silt and hung to dry, fluttering on the clothesline 

or draped over a chair. The fading luxury of silk, her last pair. 

Every night she attempts to repair the damage, to weave them 

into wearability. Runs are scratched into silk, where they will 

spread like the routes and rivers on a cartographer’s map. She

bathes her blistered, callused feet. Her bare legs are smudged 

and soiled, her toenails the color of stone, her skin cracked and 

leathery as old shoes. In the morning, she crosses legs sheathed 

with spiderwebs, arranging her skirt to hide the latest darning.