dying in the scarecrow's arms

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dying in the scarecrow's arms by Mitchell H. Douglas

Douglas's third collection opens with "Loosies," an elegy for Eric Garner in which a sense of violence and vulnerability touches everything after, from a landscape in winter, where "A cloud / of cardinals explodes / from a snow drift," to a visit by Jehovah's Witnesses, whose mission of deliverance the poem's speaker resists: "if we aren't talking / about bullets, I don't / want to ponder / salvation." Subtlest, perhaps, are Mitchell's nods to his own participation in gentrification, which is so often another kind of erasure of black life. One of the book's restorative gestures is a five-part love poem titled "Persist" that runs throughout the work, turning even the routine into a daily astonishment: "There is no sound / but our breath, the mirrors fogged, nothing / more to say."