The Afterlife is a Dry County

Among the many things I’m reading is The Afterlife is a Dry County by Charmi Keranen.  To be honest, she hasn’t connected with me yet.  I don’t know if it’s because she had the misfortune to be read alongside Cynthia Cruz, or if it’s simply a matter of needing to read her more.  Probably the latter.  The title poem, however, is one that’s beginning to grow on me.

The Afterlife is a Dry County

He refuses to call them


Stair-step cracks, cold in

the grasp, stippling.

The vertebrae


whatever alludes

a prescient motion.

I watched a woman with the

mind of a bison light up a foyer.

This is my fault, isn’t it.

The deep wet felt,

the undertow.


Two things strike me about this piece.  The first is the line “This is my fault, isn’t it.”  The second is “a woman with the mind of a bison.”  There’s something very cool about that phrase.  It’s almost a primal thing.  It’s not something I have ever considered doing in my own work, but it’s intriguing.  I’ll have to play with that sometime and see what happens.