By turns quirky, startling, earthy, and hope-filled, Micheline Maylor’s poems slip effortlessly through topics ranging from what we give up as we age to regrets for love that has passed, the interplay between the animal world and human thought, and the myths we append to ourselves and others. An expansive, conversational voice underscores the poet’s technical mastery as her subjects turn from love to hope to fearlessness. Maylor asks readers to perceive how we inhabit our selves, how words construct us. Little Wildheart is rich with challenge and surprise.
I check the box on the government forms: Caucasian. No box
for colonized, for the 1/16th bred. Just the double helix of my DNA,
my ability to sun-brown, and my own green-eyed children
of the voyageur, river visions still caught in their irises.
We’re born out of a long ago season.
Everyone is sure of place and race. Blood and semen
mixed in dirt and cervix, convex and enchanted by muskrat’s eerie smile,
dark truth furred and matted, stroked by a river paddle.
Let that long tooth bite now in the land of the race riots,
negro, and redskin, the underground railroad,
and the Indian village.
Let the name Pontiac take new form and hit the road,
the righteous mile where judgement and boundary blurs,
especially on matters of composition
blood, bone, and relations.
—from “Detroit Zoo bathroom 1977”