A review of
Fort Red Border
by Kiki Petrosino
The first poem in Fort Red Border begins when Robert Redford, cast as the poet’s beloved, is about to shampoo her hard-to-tame Afro with cold well-water he’s tried to warm in the sun. “That’s the point of doing things natural,” she says, wishing the water were warmer: “You get what the sun dishes out, not what you customize. / The sun is not a customizable thing.” The wound at the center of Kiki Petrosino’s remarkable debut is the gap between the dished-out givens of reality and the words and worlds we “customize” out of desire. Each of the book’s three sections dramatizes how even in our high-flying fantasy lives, the ordinariness of the natural reasserts itself as a source of both limitation and, paradoxically, extraordinary beauty.
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