The Wishbone Dress By Cassandra J Bruner

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“To wish with a wishbone means to break the wishbone. The poems in this chapbook enact another kind of breaking—the speaker veers from binary thinking and living. ‘Every girl must know her annunciation,’ writes the poet. In this instance, the annunciation unfolds over years as the speaker transitions. The slow work of bringing forth what has always been there complicates her bonds with family and lovers. (Not everyone can veer from binary thinking and living.) It complicates, too, her own sense of self. The imagery—dazzling, uncanny—brings us close to the emotional and intellectual turmoil orbiting transition. ‘I paint the mirror / white, a frost no bulb could sprout from’ and ‘a wish for recognition, for his budding breasts / to hide themselves away like fawns.’ The poems not only record the struggle to become, but also make visible the chaotic wonder of living. The language itself is never chaotic—it’s always wondrous. The metaphors are mind-blowing, the use of mythic and Biblical motifs deft, the lines are tight but elastic, the diction music-rich. The craft choices are exact and exacting. Language, in this poet’s hands, never breaks; it remembers, it yearns.” —Eduardo C. Corral, judge of the 2019 frost place chapbook competition

The Wishbone Dress By Cassandra J Bruner
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