POETRY

Rest

Four Way. (Stahlecker Selections). Mar. 2018. 60p. ISBN 9781945588105. pap. $15.95. POETRY
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While working for a humanitarian mission near Tucson, AZ, Little and a group of colleagues discovered the remains of an unidentified man in the desert who had been dead at least six months. That sobering discovery ("my friends and I carried the man we found/ together, the forty pounds of him") inspired this accomplished first collection. It opens with Little's mission work and expands to envision the deceased's life at home ("If not the cane fields, …/ it could have been a city with white walls"), his arduous journey ("he carried a river on his back and drank from/ it that whole walk through the desert"), and the terrible what-ifs (what if "he went back home,…/ never put his mouth/ to the gravel here"). Little unflinchingly ponders life, death, and this hard world but offers succor, too: the piano music resounding throughout, Betty's minestrone soup.
VERDICT An important story affecting and effective in its simplicity.

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