Exactly fourteen lines, each of five-foot iambics—ta DUM ta DUM ta DUM ta DUM ta DUM—such is life for a sonnet, and Rebecca Foust strings more than eighty together in this biting, rhythmically haunting collection. Foust’s poems have been published in dozens of journals, and her four other books are award winners, including the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry. She lives in the SF Bay area.
The wicks of his open eyes sunk in paraffin,
my dog’s nearly gone. Shaved like a whore,
stapled and stitched and IV-cathetered,
he lies on his side, his monitor beeping
with the same exhausted insistence
as the terrier barking from less-critical-care
in the room beyond. What does loyal mean
here? When I was sick or just couldn’t sleep,
he stayed up with me. For twelve years,
I knew I’d be missed
if I left, and washed with wet joy
each time I came home.
I’m on my knees, now, leaning in. He turns
his head, smells it’s me. He tastes my face.
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