Leaning Against the Muscle of That Throat: The Dream Women Called by Lori Wilson

Susan Shaw Sailer
| Reviews


“Dear black” repeats the poem’s opening line, the repetition more intimate in the speaker’s address to the table so important to her childhood. The two ‘b’ sounds in baby and became recall the ‘b’ sounds in black and bird. The six ‘l’ sounds echo off each other, too. In the second stanza, the ‘b’ sounds continue in baby’s, black, and bone—and ‘n’ sounds become important in wasn’t, pinned, night, window, bone—and wanted, all of this creating speed and urgency in the prayer.
Located in the middle of this volume, the book’s eponymous poem, “The Dream Women Called,” suggests  spirits of women who, as the speaker wakens from sleep, mysteriously call out places in the natural world where she might find what she needs—

find the oriole where…
or anise or licorice root….

They’re reflections of the women Wilson needed in waking life, such as the “Woman with Hoe,” whom the speaker admires, declaring, “I wish I’d been born to that capable body.” They may or may not be present in her life to offer guidance and support. Nevertheless, she needs them. The dream of perfection calls loudly, but lacking the instincts of the red-eared slider, she does the best she can, accepting imperfection.


Susan Shaw Sailer lives in Morgantown, WV. She has published three books of poetry, most recently The Distance Beyond Sight, and two chapbooks, as well as book reviews of the poets Maggie Anderson, Jan Beatty, and Judith Vollmer.

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