Nakedness, Death, and the Number Zero
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The critically acclaimed poet and translator Brooks Haxton embraces life, from our naked beginnings to the first signs of middle age and beyond, in this inviting collection of poems. The book opens with the dramatic birth of twins, and speaks in the intimate voice of a husband, father, and poet. Diverse products of the imagination pass through Haxton’s generous mind—the mysterious number zero, Milton’s “Lycidas,” nuclear technology—even as he captures the humor and pathos of the everyday. In these brief, exquisite lyrics, meditations, and short stories in verse, he immerses his reader in the heat of teenage rivalry and friendship, the tender comedy of sex, and the amazements of the natural world. Here, from a book indelible in its language and feeling, are the last few lines:
My daughters my twin girls say Ba for bird
for book for bottle—Ba: in Egypt,
bird with a human head, the soul.
They wake and wake their mother. Ba!
They point into the dark. Ba, Ba! they say,
and back to nursing weary in her arms.