I showed up at a flea market, and I was told I had just missed Eva Barrett reading, so I bought this collection. Having read it, I am truly sorry I missed her live and in person. As written, these poems pop off the page. I can only imagine what her voice would add. The collection comes off as a kind of declaration of independence, albeit one that does not come easily. In “Tiny,” Barrett writes:

in five years,

all i want

is to feel safe

in my own skin.

 

By the end, in “Anatomy of a Question Mark, Part 2,” the tone is more assertive. Here’s a piece —

i’m sorry i never let you love yourself. you carried

the weight of so many with only half of a heart, you

hid your face, not because your body was a wrong answer,

but because so much of you was missing. if nobody else

tells you today, you deserve to be all of yourself. woman

and man. she and them. the love you make is real and

dangerous and i’ll be damned if you ever forget that again.

 

Amen.

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