by Mary Gilliland
The rivetting poems of Ember Days begin with ritual and end with prayer as they tunnel through Wednesday’s jammed boulevards, Friday’s cash worthless, Saturday’s prodigal feet. Plant disease incurable as colonialism inhabits nature’s solace; funds for libraries disappear, abandoned houses compel secrets. Woolf’s pen runs dry, Tesla holes up, Lincoln emerges in yet another bardo. Soldiers in Baghdad, models transformed to artists, descendants of forced immigrants, survivors of hurricanes, witnesses for peace—these and other intercessory voices step up to our world’s disasters, level with its possibilities, interrogate faith, justice, militarism, madness, and the perception and affection of intimate relationships.