Flutter, Kick

Red Hen. Sept. 2022. 96p. ISBN 9781636280455. pap. $16.95. POETRY
In this second collection, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, Ross (If a Storm) exhibits an uncanny empathy for the world in which she lives, in which we all live, where danger and disaster might lurk around the corner. As she observes, “Now, I see how a life buckles—.” Throughout, she plumbs the domestic and connects it with possible impending doom; in “Self-Portrait with Refrain,” the narrator admires her children’s beautiful school on a hill, then imagines where her children are located within the building and considers all the possible ways an intruder can enter: “Every day, your children go to school,/ you think of the doors.… You think of the boy or man/ who holds something in his hand/ as he tries the locked front door.” Many of Ross’s poems are self-portraits, as she sees herself and her role as a mother but also revealing her everyday life as a keeper of chickens. Her poems, while alarming, are also filled with the beautiful music of careful word choices and images.
VERDICT Ross’s lovely, provocative work will appeal to a wide range of readers, whether for the way she finds larger issues within the personal or her singular use of language.
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