In It was a terrible cloud at twilight, Alessandra Lynch reflects on personal, social, moral, and historical terror. These ambitious, imagistic poems move through subjects of violence and loss that are both deeply personal and elegantly public. The elegiac poems in the final section are dedicated to the poet's friend, author Lucy Grealy, whose plight might also be said to embody terror. Lynch's poems are tactile and visual, coining words and phrases in surprising ways. They engage in intimate conversations that are both dark and whimsical. Selected by James Richardson from a field of more than six hundred manuscripts as the winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize, this is Alessandra Lynch's second collection.
Piece by Piece He Went
First, his blue toe.
Then, his calf up to the hipbone.
He thinned to a frame.
Fireflies faltered, lit into
his bony lattice, the fretted ribs, mating
between collarbone and pelvis
till the whole leg fell off and inside
he was all air and brightness and treefrogs—
(bluethroated crickets struggled through his beard,
a meadow rose from the cave of his stomach)
—we tried to catch their tender bodies,
their thrumming hearts
that longed to be let back
into the wild yellow grass—no matter how
rotten with dew, no matter how
darkened by rain, no matter.
Alessandra Lynch teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. She is the author of the poetry collection Sails the Wind Left Behind.
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