Ryler Dustin has represented Seattle on the final stage of the Individual World Poetry Slam, and his poems appear in outlets like Verse Daily, Gulf Coast, and The Best of Iron Horse. He is the author of Heavy Lead Birdsong from Write Bloody Publishing. A graduate of the MFA program at the University of Houston and the PhD program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, he has lived in Michigan, Spain, the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, and an off-grid cabin in Oregon. He recently moved back to his hometown of Bellingham, Washington.
Trailer Park Psalms traces the speaker’s journey beyond his boyhood trailer park, through an American landscape marked by violence—from a gas line explosion in his hometown to his father’s war memories to the scars of colonialism inscribed in place, language, and ecology. Along the way, he searches for sources of awe that might inspire us, even in a compromised world: the everyday miracle of eyesight, the courage of the Voyager spacecrafts, and the “clumsy kindness” of family members trying to mend the damages of the past. In the end, what he finds isn’t faith but the hope that “if there’s a heaven, we will bend / to examine our old selves / and wonder how something so delicate / was ever allowed.”