The mind is a detritus of memories and emotions. Details about family, traditions, places we’ve been et cetera sometimes clutter our thoughts so much that we can’t focus on matters at hand at times. But to organize those thoughts into a recognizable pattern can be enlightening not only to ourselves but to others. Laurie D. Graham has done that with her book of poetry called Rove, in turn challenging others to think about their own past.
Their house was a joust between onion and garlic.
Their house of lukewarm bathwater, of Friday night laundry,
invisible guilt, soup on the stove.
A Texas mickey of rye,
dirt under the fingernails,
the spring thaw she crawled through when the steel rod
pierced her abdomen on the farm alone –
I just have to make it to the road. Their house
of yarn and roses, crab apples, zucchini,
old grass clippings in a garbage bag. Silent struggling,
sitting with this love, this greying habit,
and buried amid all these mistakes.
This was not a easy read for me but it was a worthwhile one. I had started it, put it down for a while, then finished reading it and re-read segments out loud to fully comprehend their imagery better. Once that process was done, I found my thoughts going back my own reflections of my life. Hence, doing what a great piece of literature is suppose to do.
Could we find that place, that slough at the curve of what road
that we’d visit in the van in the summer.
with its weeping branches like the walls of a top-lit room,
the sky like a skylight, the red-winged blackbirds
as present as peacocks and the insects deafening?
Where Dad would quiet the engine so we could watch
and we could listen and let the scene press into our memory
Not the name or place. There’d be nothing
for the computer when we are older
and want to find it.
While Rove by Laurie D. Graham is a complex read, it is an enlightening one. Her ponderings and reflections causes the reader’s mind to consider their own memories and put them in order. That is what good literature is suppose to do.