poem: book review

my stomach was in disarray — I called my editor at
five in the morning and said I cannot write
a review for this kind of book. where the father leaves
and the daughter grows up alone. I know that
kind of book already, it is
a weed around my ribs. I take it out on my mother and
myself — on the women in my
life. yes even though it was a good book with strong
prose an interesting look at poverty in a country
that is too often glamorized, reduced I guess
to plastic commercialism. & it was a good way to write about
writing and the literary world in a meaningful
way and a character who felt like she
could be emphasis on that a writer. that’s a problem I have, with some books,
that you have these characters supposed to be
writers and they are just — blank. how are they
writing? but Natsuko had those visions those elemental
running-aways of reality. the skin people in the bath-house, the
nightmare of her father standing among
the cigarette smokers his back loomed and bent and
dark like a monster’s. & it was always hot in the book. the sun punched
down harshly from the sky, bearing down on all
them, punching them into rust. puddles of people with
their hearts finally gnawed open. but the thing
is I guess the thing is, at the end of the book she decides
to have a baby alone. like it is something
empowering. I’m sorry I just can’t write a review about the prose
and be neutral and not mention that. my editor said okay I
understand (I think she just wanted
to get back to sleep) and I was punched in the stomach although
nothing came up. the dawn rose up slowly, a lurking father
who returns with stringy violet eyes and watches
in silence. the thing about the book I liked best was how
it explains how poverty, trauma, and fatherlessness will
chase you into your twenties, forties, sixties. how those things
will come up every summer until you are dead
and grab you by the throat. I hope faraway in Japan
that Natsuko is happy, that she gives in and sometimes the baby
sees more than wasted grass-growing rims of female
eyes, female bodies, female hands. but I could not write
a good review for this kind of book.

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