Time Will Clean the Carcass Bones by Lucia Perillo

$23 Copper Canyon Press

Lucia Perillo writes poignant, smart, very engaging poems. Perhaps you are familiar with her work. If so, you know she has a vast storehouse of sometimes arcane knowledge to call upon, and that her palpable knowledge of the mortality of all things gives her work a primal power. You know, too, that she has a fine sense of humor, sometimes deliciously caustic and sometimes delightfully silly. Time Will Clean the Carcass Bones features twenty-two new poems as well as work drawn from her six earlier books, including poems from the out-of-print titles The Oldest Map with the Name America and Luck Is Luck. If you unfamiliar with her work this collection would make a lovely introduction. For us, it means we can happily hand customers the full range of Lucia Perillo’s work, rather than having to wistfully describe it to them. What a welcome publication!

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What I Know

The enemy is a place over there
somewhere, it’s easy to get confused
now that the countries have been renamed
and their boundaries redrawn—
in fact it may be over, I am not sure,
the war’s been (or had been) waging
so long that I’d forgotten about it;
I am embarrassed to admit my memory
is no longer what it once was. I don’t
want to make excuses for myself, but
there also used to be a lot more hubbub
on the streets that would remind you,
people either kissing choreographically
or chanting singsongs leaned in high school
at the pep rallies, the words slightly
altered. Who understands
what they are saying?—Sorry, but I do not hear
so well since while it rages
(raged) I seem to have become
an old woman whose television still
has an antenna whose only news is snow.

 

posted by John