The day’s an old room / stripped of its furniture; there are / never enough beds in winter. / By late afternoon, the shadows / are forming a blue inconsolable hall // as sparrows retreat to makeshift / cots of pine bark and eaves. // Even the parched marsh grass / has stilled, every blade / become an ear.
Sensuous, atmospheric, and spare, The Unlit Path Behind the House collects poems that seek light in difficult places. In lines filled with an intense music, Margo Wheaton listens for the lyricism inside the day’s blessings and catastrophes.
Wheaton’s poems sing at the intersections where public and private worlds collide: the steady cadence of a boy carrying an unconscious girl in his arms, the afternoon journey of a woman taking books to prisoners, the rhythmic breathing of a homeless man asleep in a parking lot. In these works, fireflies pulse in the dark, lovers clasp and unclasp, and street signs sing like Blake’s angels. Deeply informed by the natural world, Wheaton’s writing is marked by great meditative depth; while passionately engaged, these poems evoke a field of mystery and stillness.
Whether exploring themes of isolation, spiritual dispossession, desire, or the sanctity of daily rituals, The Unlit Path Behind the House conveys our longing for home and the different ways we try to find it.