Slice of Moon

Red Hen. 2013. 104p. ISBN 9781597099714. pap. $18.95. POETRY
Dower (Air Kissing on Mars) returns after a break from publishing with these mostly narrative poems that mine detail with a whimsy bordering on hysteria. In this collection, the speaker manages to squirt too much mustard on her hotdog, have a huge tooth pulled ("extracting my brain, forcing every thought/ I ever had out of my head"), and buy an iPhone with an app that lets users go back to pioneer life in 1872 ("my girls tug at my berry-stained apron—mom, let's bake—in my real world I didn't bake/ but with this app I can"). She tells us what a boyfriend likes in bed ("my other girlfriend lets me") and why a girlfriend prefers sex with skinny guys. But a serious thread runs through these poems: caring for a mother who has dementia. And tucked in also are quiet poems from another place—a short lyric about the Santa Ana wind with a tender ending and a vivid recollection of a now deceased high school boyfriend, a moving blend of sexual experimentation and loss.
VERDICT A collection of high-pitched energetic riffs that sometimes fail to make a case for their occasion.
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