from “The Wake of Maria de Jesus Martinez”

J. Michael Martinez

Disbudded chrysanthemumflorets ring her casket:            oak laid,            my grandmother’s armscross; gilded gold,her bold button’d suitlies black against white satin;oak grieved, her daughter kneelstear-pearled & sorrow sung:tear-pearled & sorrow sung:the furnaces hunger            within my mother’s cry,            love mother’d what love must hate—            the gasping erasure            be    her    fore her            cut be/fore away:be/fore away:Maria Jesusgrin sly beneath herwaist-long silverhair, cigarette thinin her slenderhand, she glancesoutside the frameinto image’s inevitablecollapse; or, with what paper-soft[…]

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J. Michael Martinez received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for his first collection, Heredities. His second, In the Garden of the Bridehouse, was published by the University of Arizona Press. He is the poetry editor of Noemi Press, and his writings have been widely anthologized.

Winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series Competition

“J. Michael Martinez may call this stunning collection a museum, but once you enter, it’ll feel more like a dip into a repository of fun house mirrors; our entwined histories here are pushed, pulled, elongated, and always reflected straight back, with laser sharpness, to the reader’s gaze. It is a book perfectly crafted to meet the complicated days we are living through.”
Cornelius Eady

“A beautiful, personal, well-conceived, and historically contextualized indictment of empire, the aestheticization of biopolitics, and the white gaze.”
Publishers Weekly

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