<Previous      Next>
Transom:
The final sentence of this poem offers a simile to describe the mother and then immediately rejects the possibility of that simile. Is the mother fundamentally unknowable?

brandon:
The mother is, at once, inescapable – so vast she has seeped into the speaker’s entire world – and completely unreachable.

Transom:
The verbs used to describe the mother (“smiting,” “taming,” etc.) place her within an epic register, while the speaker occupies a decidedly less lofty space of “toting lint” and insufficient jewels. Is the speaker necessarily reduced in the shadow of such a figure?

brandon:
Yes, if you think of reduction in the sense of distillation. You're right, the mother exists within an epic register; not just in this poem, but in the entire book (A Botany of Limbs) from which it is excerpted. In the liminal space of gender transition, the speaker is reduced to himself. & he has his own, differently epic, but very much badass register.