dinner with emerson

praise for Mnookin's work


Wendy Mnookin's poems are deft reports from the unkempt country of love. Her fierce lyrics, her "choreography /​ of desire," shakes us again and again with intelligence, humor, and ardency. Mnookin's work bears abiding fidelity to Emerson's imperative to write it on the heart. This is a radiant collection that gathers us through "whatever love has rained on us all."

--Peter Shippy, author of A Spell of Songs

The poems in Wendy Mnookin's Dinner with Emerson are as exquisite as diamonds, as perfect in their clarity and complexity. Though set in the chronology of seasons, time is both fluid and sly, the present co-existing with a past "dressed in lazy tatters" that "waits at the door, smoking a Lucky Strike." Death lives here too--a father, a stepfather, a beloved pet, the imminent loss of a mother--but Mnookin understands that even as we are profoundly changed by loss, joy is a choice we make and epiphanies can arise from the smallest of moments.

--Sarah Freligh, author of Sad Math


from the book


FAX FROM MY SON

I turn the fax one way, then another,
but I can't decipher
these mysterious bubbles and smudges.
Even when I read Happy Mothers' Day
I don't understand

and then I doŚ
I run outside,
where you're attaching
new windshield wipers to the car,
and wave the paper in your face,
jumping up and down
while you figure out

you're looking at an ultrasound
of our grandchild. Oh

isn't it all worth it
to come to this place together
where the people we love most
are the same people,

where you can say, brushing
sweat from your eyes,
We have new wipers
for the next downpour,

and I can say,
You really should have
pulled over back there,
we couldn't see a thing.