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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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.