Poet Ray Keifetz imagines a vivid world into being in his second collection.
This new poetry collection begins with images of violence and loss, of "blood prints / on the wall." It tells of a world where "All that can be lost / has been lost." That would seem to make for a grim undertaking, except it's not quite true, for there remains memory, and imagination, and Ray Keifetz has imagined a vivid world into being - perhaps our world, or what it was, or what it will be - strange but recognizable, and strangely beautiful even when he ventures into dark places. His title poem calls to mind natural history dioramas depicting exotic animals in their lost habitats, "A meadow / in memory of meadows. / A sea / in memory of seas." His poems serve a similar function, each a compelling vignette capturing a moment of life, in memory of life. Keifetz is a clear-eyed realist about our world - "Whoever praised the shore / lied about the tide" - and he knows how porous the boundary is separating human and beast: "How long did we hold / our two-leggedness, / our man and woman-ness, / before we dropped to our knees / and feasted?" But ultimately he is hopeful - "How long can it rain / until the rainbow" - and he shows a way forward in the simplest of acts, for in planting "even a seed -- / you dig // the opposite / of a grave."