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Poetry Review: At night, the dead by Lisa Ciccarello


I avoid horror films.
I’ve never seen Nightmare on Elm Street or the Jason series.
Even the hokey Scream films freaked me out a bit.
Bottom line, I don’t do scary.

And then, because I love poetry and I’m part of the kick-ass Read Write Poem community; (founded by the fabulous Dana Guthrie) I agreed to review At night, the dead by Lisa Ciccarello.

I was forced to face my nightmarish fears, as Ciccarello calls the dead out, revels in their beauty and isn’t at all bashful about the freakishness of it all.

The dead lose nothing. Here is this curtain. Everything they ever wanted: the window view, soap that floats, someone pressing down hard. Lips made out of paper. A smile that shines (just a flame at his mouth & so what). In the dark there’s the swamp & the sound of the swamp & the lightning that balls above it. The dead want to grow here, the dead plant the bad vegetables that rot before they eat them. I want a space beneath the boards, something I can put in the floor, I want a root cellar full of fruit that lasts. He knows it’s not enough: home. With each exhale our hands move farther apart.

Ciccarello dances lightly around what we’re all afraid of – death and the dead. And suddenly its not so scary, suddenly it’s rather (dare I say it) fascinating. That’s not to say some of the poems featured in this chapbook didn’t send shivers up my spine; they did. But, that’s what good poetry is meant to do – make you feel. Even if that feeling results in keeping all the lights in the house on, 24/7.

At night, the dead is a perfect gift for any lover of Halloween and all things ghoolish. In fact, you should probably order one now for your upcoming Halloween party. Or if you happen to love horror, you will love this lyrical, creepy compilation of all things dead.

Happy Reading!

-Heather

P.S. This review is part of the Read Write Poem virtual book tour. Love it!

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