In this Book

Best Bones
summary
Winner of the 2013 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. Best Bones is a house. When you walk around the rooms of the house, you overhear the desires and griefs of a family, as well as the unresolved concerns of lingering ghosts. The various voices in the house struggle against the family roles and social identities that they must wear like heavy garments—mother, father, wife, husband, sister, brother, servant, and master. All these voices crave unification; they want to join themselves into one whole sentient being, into a mansion steering itself. The poems in Best Bones also explore the experience of living in a physical body, and how the natural world intersects with manmade landscapes and technologies. In it, mother has a reset button, servants blend into the furniture, and a doctor patiently oversees the pregnancy of the earth. In these poems, the body is a working machine, a repository of childhood myth and archetype, and a window to the spiritual world. The poems strive to be visceral on the level of dream, or of a story that is half remembered and half fabricated.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Fable
  2. pp. 1-2
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  1. 1
  2. pp. 3-4
  1. Still Birth
  2. p. 5
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  1. Temporary River
  2. p. 6
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  1. Remarks on the Morning's Work in Winter
  2. pp. 7-8
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  1. The Wife
  2. p. 9
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  1. The Mistress
  2. p. 10
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  1. A Bathing Gown a Girl Can Make
  2. p. 11
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  1. The Only House in the Neighborhood
  2. p. 12
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  1. The Lord is Risen Indeed
  2. p. 13
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  1. Sisters
  2. p. 14
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  1. White Sheep. White Cloud.
  2. p. 15
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  1. Gentle Doctor
  2. p. 16
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  1. 1917
  2. pp. 17-18
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  1. 2
  2. pp. 19-20
  1. Exhumation
  2. p. 21
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  1. My Grandmother's Belongings
  2. p. 22
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  1. Mary
  2. p. 23
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  1. To My Daughter
  2. p. 24
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  1. Surrogate
  2. p. 25
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  1. Instructions for Marriage by Capture
  2. pp. 26-27
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  1. Wallflower
  2. p. 28
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  1. Instructions for Marriage by Service
  2. pp. 29-30
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  1. By Jove
  2. p. 31
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  1. Our Furry Friends
  2. p. 32
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  1. The Performance
  2. p. 33
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  1. Letter from a New England Girl
  2. pp. 34-35
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  1. Charmed
  2. p. 36
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  1. Your Server For This Evening
  2. pp. 37-38
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  1. Laying the Cloth, et cetera
  2. p. 39
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  1. Employment
  2. p. 40
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  1. Blackfly
  2. p. 41
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  1. Possible Names for a Country House
  2. p. 42
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  1. August Postcard
  2. p. 43
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  1. My Dearest Doll
  2. p. 44
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  1. Remembering Your Young Love
  2. pp. 45-46
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  1. 3
  2. pp. 47-48
  1. Gaikotsu
  2. pp. 49-50
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  1. Love Poem
  2. p. 51
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  1. Kids These Days
  2. p. 52
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  1. Tending the Flocks (England, 1790)
  2. p. 53
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  1. Prion
  2. p. 54
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  1. Don't
  2. p. 55
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  1. The Best Bones
  2. p. 56
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  1. Home
  2. pp. 57-58
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  1. Pajamas
  2. pp. 59-60
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  1. Ophelia
  2. p. 61
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  1. The Artist's Boy
  2. p. 62
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  1. The New Family
  2. p. 63
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  1. About the Hammer
  2. p. 64
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  1. The Monastery
  2. pp. 65-66
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  1. Calendar
  2. pp. 67-68
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  1. When You Are Dead
  2. pp. 69-72
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  1. Blue Whale
  2. pp. 73-76
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 77-78
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 79-80
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  1. Back Cover
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