The Goodbye Animals

The Goodbye Animals, Foothills Publishing (2014)


Eclipse crawls another silvery ball.
Black, some say, equals simplicity.
A lack of intimacy-the way my student wanted

"nature to be straightforward,  all those dumb personifications cut.
So what if it's just a place where the animals eat each other up?"

Soon I'll have the moon to myself
and need to move on 
Me, my own
pawn in the where-to

Once I was sure of something    The Russian port of Murmansk
had a mammal that sounded like it  and then I recalled marmot
In that mouthful lived what I'd been looking for-not furry
exactness  but the yearning out of ahs    That spaciousness
before the word    comes for mountain

One can wait years for the right meaning of departure
The dog howls after the car drives away
He waits under the tree   his protest
its own arrival

Jared Smith Comments ~ Poet
The poems composing this intricately and finely woven chapbook form a sequence that opens with the words of Octavio Paz, telling us-or in this case Katherine-to "speak to you in stone language/(answer with one green syllable". And, oh, the language that pours forth within that syllable! The poems encompass our birth from the amniotic fluid of mother and of universe, the animals and plant life that share this ark with us before melting back into the ark as we do, the loves and lives of those we know and are of a part. They explore in passionate and often painful, reverential tones "the levels beyond my first floor ocean room...sliced from the first-hand world of chocolate sofas and perfume."

Throughout, with her keen eye for imagery and wholeness of understanding, we experience intimately, the power and unity of all things animate and inanimate that are born as we are from the center of nova suns that spread their chemical trails and seeds across the frozen space of time until that unbearable darkness lands upon or forms some distant island where it can reflect back upon the light from which it came.

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