Proceeding from Hélène Cixous’s charge to “kill the false woman who is preventing the live one from breathing,” The Fix forges that woman’s reckoning with her violent past, with her sexuality, and with a future unmoored from the trappings of domestic life. These poems of lyric beauty and unflinching candor negotiate the terrain of contradictory desire—often to darkly comedic effect. In encounters with strangers in dive bars and on highway shoulders, and through ekphrastic engagement with visionaries like William Blake, José Clemente Orozco, and the Talking Heads, this book seeks the real beneath the dissembling surface. Here, nothing is fixed, but grace arrives by diving into the complicated past in order to find a way to live, now.
“Woman Seated with Thighs Apart”
Often I am permitted to return to this kitchen
tipsy, pinned to the fridge, to the precise
instant the kiss smashed in.
When the jaws of night are grinding
and the double bed is half asleep
the snore beside me syncs
to the traffic light, pulsing red, ragged up
in the linen curtain.
I leak such solicitous sighs
to asphalt, slicked with black ice, high beams speed
over my body whole
while the drugstore weeps its remedy
in strident neon throbs—
I doubt I’ll make it out.
It’s a cold country. It’s the sting of quarantine.
It’s my own two hands working
deep inside the sheets.