A breathtaking collection of tender poems about love and loss.
Darlington (China Bus, 2017, etc.) is a man of few words, but in this slim book of untitled verse, he proves that those few words are enough. He depicts love as “a feast of goosebumps / laid out for curious taste buds” and “a party / posted signs: / NO RE-ENTRY.” He woos readers with a speaker’s recollections of staying up all night reading The Love Poems of Lord Byron with a beloved and later finding torn-out pages from that volume hidden in other books. Another speaker reminisces about a girl who likes “small tomatoes / as they pop in her mouth / simple cotton undies / and a good pizza crust.” Yet another poem tells of a weekend camping trip, complete with mushroom foraging and a visit from a bear at breakfast. Even when a speaker is in a relationship, he senses its inevitable end; one poem discusses keeping written tabs of a love’s delicious details: “now my house is / full of such notes / so many that in a / strong breeze / they’re like butterflies / releasing from a / garden / each one / some part of you.” When a relationship ends, a sorrowful speaker seeks the advice of the sun, the moon, and the sea in a poem that offers solace but no answers. Darlington is a master of brevity, and each poem in this collection is like a time capsule, packed with nostalgia and sensual description. Of a secretly kept photograph, he writes, “You are flushed from sex and / the afternoon sun runs like butter / down your spine.” Even the sparsest poems are explosively potent, such as: “stay / like this / a moment / our costumes fallen to the floor.” Darlington takes full advantage of white space on the page, effectively playing with line breaks and indents to create a game of hopscotch for the eyes while simultaneously filling the soul.
A sexy, bittersweet reverie of love relayed in brief, powerful bursts of poetry.