Sara Moore Wagner. Five Oaks Press, $14 paperback ISBN: 9781944355258
To explain death and love to children, adults often use folklore, myths, fairy tales. In telling these stories, adults teach themselves as well. Hooked Through is a mother’s beautiful, emotional, and at times grotesque attempt to explain the suicide of a close family member to her child and herself. This short collection is full of deep, mysterious grief. Reading these poems truly makes you feel hooked, lifted, and raw.
The collection begins with a narrative anchor in “Like a Fish”, where the speaker is in the hospital with a loved one who has recently shot himself. Suddenly the wound becomes visible behind the bandage, but the speaker must ignore this ugly reality and instead tell the nurse a story:
He hammered my mother’s
wedding ring out of a quarter,
I say, because I don’t know
what to look at. Too many
rings and hooks. Too many.
Death turns us all into fishes,
green and gasping.