THIS is what I love about life in the woods:
- You’re playing bingo with your family.
- The phone rings. It’s your neighbor saying, “Come on out if you wanna join us for fireworks.”
- You throw on your coat, hat, and boots. Maybe your gloves.
- You walk down a snowy lane and stand in the road.
- Fireworks ensue, painting the snow.
- You walk back in the house—no traffic, no sweat—and resume bingo.
In the relocation tally, New Hampshire just scored five points in the bonus column.
An Amateur Marriage by Jessie Carty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Many of us, myself included, have friends we only know online. Some are merely acquaintances or notches on a networking belt. But other online friendships are more substantial, built on honest communication and/or collaborating on real projects. For me, Jessie is one of these friends. And I have often wondered what life is like for her on the other end of cyberspace, in those moments where the computer is off and the smartphone is put away, in her “real” life.
This chapbook gave me a glimpse into her other world. A world filled with objects and someone to share them with. This world–—her nest, feathered and re-feathered as she moves from what she thinks is expected to what she knows is needed, is made so real on the page that I could feel her couch and taste her casserole. And yet.
And yet I started wondering what “real” life actually is. And whether this poetic construction of Jessie’s life is given to us to satisfy that voyeuristic tendency we all have at some level. That she, in her clever way, might actually be protecting the world she loves by showing him/it to us in a controlled context–—allowing her “Jack” to walk away “nimble and quick to situate himself without any light.”*
I may never know the truth, even if I do meet her in person someday. But in the end it doesn’t matter. The idea of “real” in this chapbook is so enjoyable that I’ll take it, believe it, and wait impatiently for what her next (chap)book will reveal.
*From her poem “What I fear”
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