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by Leah Silvieus

Arabilis integrates the ordeal of othering into the fundamental uncertainty of life to produce a collection that is honest in its pain, confusion, and joy. Beautiful and desolate as a rural upbringing, these poems delve into the complex relationship between the self and the indifferent world it inhabits. In this cogent work, the lonely thrill of existence is characterized by gunpowder, bone, and Bud Light empties. Presented through the perspective of a person of color adopted into a white family, this collection simultaneously acknowledges the senselessness of life and demands an explanation for it. Silvieus’ poems advance through the changing of the seasons, paralleling the introspective nature of youth and adulthood alike through an examination of faith, nature, and memory. Sacrilegious discourse is converted to sacred invocations as this collection examines the viscera of life and loss. Belying each poem is a tenacious grasping for answers to questions impossible to express, validating the intuition that though we turn to God, Earth, or another person, we may never receive a fulfilling reply. In the face of this apparent helplessness, these poems continue to stumble in the dark, reaching with the God-want of their hands, relentless in their search for that which might finally reach back.

Adoptee Author: Leah Silvieus

Publication Year: 2019

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