It’s not right that she should do this
to her body as she speaks,
but it’s the only way we can understand her.
We who weren’t raised on sand
and cherry-pits. Whose stepfathers
held their tempers.
The South is a mean place
we forget about. The windows
boarded up all over town. She says,
dogs chased her down the tar-
soaked road like devils. Each dog with three
heads, three tails. She says,
we might’ve mocked her story,
but never now. First, she strikes nails
against her chest like matches.
Then, when we think we can’t
take more from her, she eats
her own hands. Who are we now
to say that art should not destroy us?
From Best Bones
The poems of Best Bones allude to landscapes of history, fable, and childhood myth, yet are fraught with modern day predicaments that create an atmosphere at once familiar and strange, playful and haunted, and verging on disaster. With imaginative intelligence, Nordgren maintains a snow-globe control of the whole scene.