Matthew Siegel's disquieting first book of poems, Blood Work, explores the inner workings of a life lived in vulnerability. The narrative voice here is vulnerable to his sickness-Crohn's disease-as well as the "sickness" of loving. These poems are raw, exposed, and deeply authentic attempts to reconcile all that is difficult to look at in one life. They capture a constant striving for more: more understanding, more unfolding, more opening, in spite of a difficult and complex world; yet there are moments of quiet humor and lightness, reminding us not to take life too seriously. Though there is plenty of darkness in Blood Work, it is ultimately a hopeful statement. The relief comes in the form of small moments of pleasure and letting go, where we're brought to see the simple things: dewed grass beneath a streetlight, flowers tossed under the house and recovered, or sour strawberries at the farmers' market.