Faulkner's Rosary

In Vap's third book of poetry, the language of waiting radiates from the perspective of an expectant mother; the poems occur within the space of possibility for both beauty and peril in the everyday. The language in these poems is charged: lush and dazzling images spring forth from the waiting mind, the pregnant body. The growing child is named "saint-star, itching pea"; a sonogram depicts a "little crocheted ear." What emerges as truly striking in this collection is Vap's bold embrace of the body; themes of sexuality, fear, and death make stark appearances throughout, and the darker evocations of pregnancy—words such as tentacle, strangehold, explosion, daemon—counterbalance the delicate dreaminess of love and giving life. In "By Silence," Vap writes

Once by fire. Once by water. I wanted you by commotion. By the hem

of sunlight across your father's wrist. I wanted you there, embroidered

to the curtain, brushing his shoulder. There, his beard where—he whispers, does he? Io. Io,

burning moon

the consistency of oil—most exploding object in our solar system. We were led to you

by explosion

The act of sequential prayer, the rosary, subtly connects the poems—a linking couplet serves as a "bead," providing a refrain, a sense of chronology, a constant.

This book review originally appeared in American Poets.