The Landscape We Left on Each Other
Chapbook, Lauren Elle DeGaine, 20 pgs, The Blasted Tree Art Collective & Publishing Co., theblastedtree.com, $7
Separation 鈥 as hinted at in the title 鈥攍ooms over and in these poems. They exist in a hazy, dream-like state, mimicking the way it might feel to remember a traumatic event like a car accident, as if recalling brief flashes, rather than the entire sequence; not being sure if you can believe what you鈥檙e remembering.
Lauren Elle DeGaine alternates between free verse and single-paragraph prose poem for this collection. The first type is often enigmatic (鈥渨hat colour is corners of a mouth / turned up?鈥? and the second, straightforward. Intersection and collision are predominant themes; people crash as easily as vehicles. DeGaine writes,鈥淲e were fighting / when the car just missed us. / We were fucking, / and I cried quietly.鈥滭/p>
DeGaine makes astute observations about relationships, with the help of hindsight, suggesting, for example, that the length is irrelevant to the outcome, or that relationships always meet the same end a rain drop does: 鈥淚t doesn鈥檛 matter how long the fall. / When we splash / we go in different directions / like molecules do.鈥滭/p>
The one thing that is missing here is the other person鈥檚 perspective. Writing the personal side of a separation is easy, but considering the other party may be necessary for the definition of the self in the aftermath.