Haunted by Loss: An Early Winter Web Rove
by Samantha Futhey
Leaves have fallen and temperatures have dropped. After the tumult of summer and autumn, I enter a contemplative mindset. The following selections contemplate people, canine friends, and places that the speaker has lost and remember through writing. So curl up, light a fire in your fireplace, and let the words of these writers release introspection.
“After Euthanasia: Kern National Wildlife Refuge” by Shelia Nickerson (from Thrush)
This short poem reflects on the grief and inevitability of death. The poem’s simple poignancy is elevated by the use of short lines. The deconstruction of terms associated with euthanasia point to the speaker’s honesty and sorrow. I especially loved the journey the speaker takes, trying to search for the one she lost.
“Serpentine” by Taylor Graham (from Poecology)
Another canine poem, however the speaker predicts what will happen when the dog is gone. I found the poem’s strength in the wonderful imagery; “scrubby greenstone landscape, a bedrock crown” and “columbine/holds the scent of summer like a trace design”. I also enjoyed the contemplation of how animals dear to our lives leave their mark.
“On My Last Day in Montana” by Lauren Koshere (from Poecology)
This piece of fiction (or nonfiction since it was not specified) again blurs the line between reflection and current action. I enjoyed the repetition of the phrase “On my last day in Montana” and how it emphasized what the speaker would miss and fears of the future.
“Mussel” by Ihor Pavlyuk (from Asymptote)
This poem bleeds sorrow. The desolate sea images consume the speaker as he struggles to resolve sorrow within himself. Though not necessarily reflecting on a particular person, I could not resist the powerful images such as “the rosy flesh of this mussel/ My anguish, scalloped as a wave” or “the water/ Wrinkles its forehead in righteous anger”.
“Epithalamium” by Natalie Eilbert (from Thrush)
Finally, these two poems have images that haunt and stun. Though a bit of a stretch from the theme of remembrance and loss, the first poem in particular contemplates past actions that someone did to the speaker with visceral language and quick rhythm. Lines I particularly enjoyed; “…I’m carrying/ this wet death in my mouth to you” and “A millennium dawdled out/ your perfect dirt scalp”. Throughout the poem I had no idea what was going on, but the ghostly atmosphere created captivated me.