by Carlye Archibeque
Buckley’s second collection of poetry is insidious in its simplicity. On first read the poems are simple prose poems, which are well written and easy to read. But certain words stick and some of the ideas haunt until you find yourself picking the book back up to read a piece again. After Everyone Had Gone haunts the reader in a place where, “Faded snapshots curl like fingers from mirrors as spotted as her hands.” In Two Mile Creek, it is “Woven limbs splayed – an exotic arrangement of bone – flowers whose fragrance has faded, blossoms bowing under the weight of water” that fill the mind.
This collection is divided into three sections focusing on memory: Inventing Memory; Fugue States; The Memory of Houses. In most cases the separations seem to mean more to the author than to the reader since the collection would stand on it’s own without the divisions.
That said, there are several pieces in the Inventing Memory section that delight, most notably in Fitzgerald’s Wife, which is possibly the most perfect poem in the collection because it is the least self aware:
Sometimes I walk all night.
Sometimes I count every crack in the ceiling.
Sometimes the moon sets itself on fire.
Sometimes I want to join in.”
In Fugue States, the poems become rife with ideas about cycles of life and death as the poet remembers fishing with her father, planting fruit trees and losing childhood to the slap of a mother.
In The Memory of Houses section, Buckley gets her wicked on with poems about lovers, imaginary and real. In Love Poem to an Older Man the poet is both angel and devil in declaring her unending love through the saving of teeth, “I’ll have you strung and brought to me in a velvet sack. I’ll wear you, shining, around my neck.”
This is a book where simplicity meets a siren named Kate Buckley and is all the better for it.