Laws Regarding Silence, by Holly Burnside
I am my own pharmacist, my own diagnostic machine, / my own faith healer, shaman, bonesetter, cardiac surgeon
Holly Burnside’s new poems floodlight the dark corners: I met you where the clock runs on London time, / in a room that pulsed carnation pink and opal like a tear. / No one watched but the broken dolls, who rolled their glass eyes. And Burnside’s poetry cabinet holds every remedy:
I am my own pharmacist, my own diagnostic machine, my own faith healer, shaman, bonesetter, cardiac surgeon, my cabinet crowded with generic labels hiding witchcraft serums formulated to glaze the body smooth again, to cripple every lingering ache and tingle, pink liquids and white tablets with warnings not to exceed the recommended dosage, admonishments to consult my physician if symptoms persist for more than seven days.
The alchemy of this collection is to find redemption in the unlikely places, as in “My River is a Woman,” where:
…The sweetened air loves her, kisses her with industrial dust, lips like steel. The birds stand at her edges, pecking tenderly, rooting for clams and crayfish. River fish want her caress, leaves bend to touch her, the bank weighs heavy against her, girding twisted roots that reach into her to drink.