These harrowing poems focus on how human connection can both transcend devastation as well as complicate our individual sense of existence. We witness the devastating impact of loss on a group of sisters, while also following the isolate self’s ongoing navigation of an ever-changing world. Through it all, the sisters in Imaginary Royalty live and breathe as one: “None of us is her own grown self now. Re-conjoined, four sisters. The magnetic pull is awful, gravity unbearable, and, oh our bodies are staved. It is the center we seize around, the sister in whom the hole has opened. The cold blows through us all.” (from “A Soul So Watched”)
“Molecule by Molecule” from Imaginary Royalty:
Why should I resume in dreams the childhood I’ve sloughed off incomplete? I speak from a center of a nebula of sisters, though only the cat’s home with me, and she’s hypnotized, she drags her silk length through the weeds in their jam jar till the weeds reach weed heaven, the silk silk heaven. In last night’s dream my sisters and I keep shrieking, There’s too much fish sauce in it! So effervescent we become when someone feeds us, we feel the need to complain and bicker— a reflex like blinking or folding wings, like engaging spinnerets. We’re restless. The garden’s unfolding, in every early bud an earwig waking up. The cat chirrups, a spring ecstatic, with snow crystals still clinging. I shrink to mother’s child in my sleep, forget my children’s mother.