There is a large intelligence present in Terese Svoboda's poetry and not a shred of sentimentality. From the dramatic coming-of-age in the title poem to the question posed in the last section, "What will I say to my child as it snows / that last winter's papery afterglow?" she continually searches for a responsible, compassionate world, one in which the only illusion is art.
The mythological central poem, "The Ranchhand's Daughter," shows the gods of isolation and incest warring against each other, destroying a triangle of love and cut into the granite-faced Badlands. It is only in the sensuous landscape of the domestic that possible redemption occurs: the father who dreams of running for president, the mother who signs in the mirror, the couple in the shower with "confidence rising between them." Faced with the inevitable losses, Svoboda strives for meaning and beauty.