Quarry

Melissa Stein

As you slept
I was thinking about the quarry,
about light going deeper
into earth, into rock, the hurt
of light hitting layers
that should be hidden,
that should be buried,
and how when it rained
for a long time that absence filled
with suffering, and we swam.

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Melissa  Stein

Melissa Stein’s debut collection, Rough Honey, won the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf, Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and her work has won awards from Spoon River Poetry Review, Literal Latte, and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation, among others. She holds an MA in creative writing from the University of California at Davis, and is a freelance editor and writer in San Francisco. (Author photo by Kristen Wrzesnewski)

In this lush, disturbing second collection from Melissa Stein, exquisite images are salvaged from harm and survival. Set against the natural world’s violence—both ordinary and sublime—pain shines jewel-like out of these poems, illuminating what lovers and families conceal. Stein uses her gifts for persona and lyric richness to build worlds that are vivid, intricate, tough, sexy, and raw: “over and over // life slapping you in the face / till you’re newly burnished / flat-out gasping and awake.” Breathless with risk and redemption, Terrible Blooms shows how loss claims us and what we reclaim.

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