Winner of the 2009 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize, Laura McKee’s debut collection, Uttermost Paradise Place, allows us to unhook ourselves from the confines of the present moment and drape language around the simultaneities of our inner life—that in our experience of any present we are living as much in the past or future.
Care and Feeding of the Faux Fur Coat
Take your coat out to a snow-covered field for a scream.
Make shapes of its animal with your breath in the frozen air.
Stand in a silent stand of pines. Bury your hands
in its pockets and imagine it as it once was. Wail, wail,
wail until you become half of its grief. Take it to the groomer, the pound,
your psychologist. Tell them it’s keeping you up at night.
Work regularly with your coat on language skills.
Pin notes to its sleeves: I love you so much.
This is all a lie. It’s not you; it’s me.
“… The poems in Uttermost Paradise Place achieve transparency. While many of them are perceived via a persona, it is ultimately the personae of perception itself that proscribes the pure pleasure of reading. ‘Suit, I salute you. You have changed my questions.’ How sweetly rare it is to overhear a poet’s homage to her poem! Who authors who? As if we could answer!” —Claudia Keelan