The Porcupinity of the Stars (Gary Barwin)

SHOPPING FOR DEER

I went shopping for deer
there were no deer
the shopping cart became the deer

I brought it home
climbed inside
and turned off the lights

the seasons changed
I lived on earth
sometimes the bright sun shone
I became old

when I die, I will remember the deer
I will remember its wheels and antlers
I will remember its flesh and lightning
its womb of silver bones

It’s rare to see surrealistic poetry with such lyrical, emotional depth. Barwin’s newest collection is an exceptional book, one that strikes a careful set of balances to offer poems that are at once funny, melancholy, emotive, detached, warm, and wry. Each page brims with fresh, exciting, original, and vibrant imagery — “the porcupinity of the stars” is a good example, a phrase that seems nonsensical at first read but appears more and more fitting with each further consideration.

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