Slaughter the One Bird
Kimberly Ann Priest's debut full-length collection Slaughter the One Bird is a haunting and incisive meditation on the enduring effects of childhood sexual abuse. Reflecting on the impact of trauma on her memories and role as a mother, Priest intertwines past and present in a series of lyrical confessions and meditations on power and grief. In poems addressed to the nameless "pedophile," as well as a series of vignettes on everyday life ranging from subjects as varied as the preparation of breakfast to the migration of deer, she deconstructs the history of abuse spanning from childhood to her adult life in which she finds herself trapped in a relationship with a violent partner. Religious legalism and shame play a strong role in the power dynamics between perpetrator and victim. Vivid and moving, these poems offer a highly personal glimpse into the poet's journey through disempowerment and grief toward healing.
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