Dipped in acetate, these poems strip Detroit of any pretense and offer a flawless lesson in descriptive concision. But Rowing Inland delights because of Jim Daniels’s storytelling skills—a chronicle of incidents and anecdotes perfectly suited to poetic form. Born in Detroit, Daniels teaches at Carnegie Mellon University. He’s also a short-film maker and author of several books.
My mother commanded her kitchen corner—
two casement windows cranked open
in summer while she steamed above
sudsy dishes, her five kids shot
into dusk’s after-dinner space—
the street, and other kids like us.
Two potted violets from her dead mother
anchored the sills. If you find my father
in this picture, please let me know.
We still look for him far from that tiny house.
My mother dried wishbones on those sills.
It was she who decided they were dry enough
to break. She never wished herself.
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