The Design of Wings
by Genevieve Lehr
Her face is refracted like the sea.
She finds his image in water,
and the table she lays her hand upon
is the heart of a spreading forest.
Age. Date of Birth. Reason for placement.
It is as if an entire century has gone by.
As if the fly goes on contemplating the same
anguish, and the house around her dissolves
from the roof down.
Wheelchair. Insert. Headrest. Footrests.
– from “Placement”
This deeply moving, lyrical sequence chronicles a mother’s realization that she can no longer keep her physically disabled son at home. That, bluntly put, is the “story” of these ten poems; however, it gives little sense of the breadth of their embrace or the beauty of their voice. These poems are lamentations, but they are more so celebrations of resiliency, courage and love, of the unshakeable bond between parent and child.
Lehr writes with a sure and accomplished style informed by wide and eclectic reading – Neruda, Yeats, the Bible – which she makes distinctly her own. This sequence also forms part of Lehr’s first full-length volume of poetry, The Sorrowing House, which appeared from Brick Books shortly after the publication of the chapbook and which was short-listed for the Savage First Book Award (one of Eastern Canada’s Atlantic Book Awards).
Printed in two editions; both were typeset by hand in 12 pt Fournier and include a print from an original image by Catherine Reader. Typesetting, presswork and binding by Marnie Parsons.
Fine paper edition printed on Hahnemuhle Ingres with Daiinshu Chiri endpapers and Kusa Hana cover sewn onto Classic Linen cover stock. This edition is limited to 100 copies, signed and numbered by the author.
Photos are by Ned Pratt, and feature the limited edition of this book.