Walking Into Lightning (Paperback)

Walking Into Lightning By Ellen Laflèche Cover Image

Walking Into Lightning (Paperback)


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After her husband died of ALS in 2014, poet Ellen LaFleche began writing of physical love and loss, of the complications of memory, of the small, personal, persistent sorrows that lived with her every day. These poems push back against clinical theories of bereavement by validating the necessary persistence of grief and remembering. They also challenge platitudes about the easy comfort of memories.

The poem "Unbearable," for example, describes the sensory joys of the couple's honeymoon:

We splurged on fine wine and watched sunset spread
its slow flush across evening's throat...

I tipped a shell against his lips and told him to drink.
Too sandy, he said, too salty, but he swallowed the broth,
wiping his beard with the knuckled swipes of a pre-historic man.

Now, memories of the salty taste of a littleneck clam bring an intense mixture of joy and sorrow.

Memory also fails, erases: "Your face is fading into my brain's neuronal mist," the poet writes, and "I remember how you carried home a bouquet of foliage. /
I don't remember the spider that crawled up your sleeve."

The sensual, recurrent imagery of Walking into Lightning - fire, ocean water, corn fields, thunder, birth, the pleasures of physical love - spiral through the poems, linking them in a long, tangled journey through bereavement and loss.

This is a remarkable book for the bereaved, unsentimental and undistracted, profoundly moving and cathartic.

Product Details ISBN: 9781732952126
ISBN-10: 1732952124
Publisher: Saddle Road Press
Publication Date: August 15th, 2019
Pages: 68
Language: English