by Jessica Bell
Jessica Bell’s new poetry collection is a captivating love letter from a mother to her young son. The dynamic free verse captures that special bond with sincerity absence sentimentality; raw beauty unmarred by polish; and humor seamlessly entwined with reality.
Brilliantly devoid of over-explanation, the poems are eminently accessible. Each creates an energy-filled space that allows you to feel what you’re feeling and ascribe the meaning you find.
The images conjure a sense of watching a movie. Consider a boy skipping a black stone on a quiet sea. The same boy, now forlorn, sits on a couch beside his mother as she scrolls through his baby photos until he feels better. And the author as a child confused by what “youth in Asia” has to do with her parents’ argument about a person’s right to die, a sentiment that made me laugh out loud.
Many of the poems also contain a musical lilt, which is not surprising, given the author’s background as a current musician and past singer in Keep Shelly in Athens. I particularly loved seeing this rebel-turned-mother watch how her son treats her 15-year-old acoustic guitar:
my dressing gown’s
the acoustic neck,
drags it around the house
along the floor
pretending to have caught
a sea beast.”
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