life of

By Alison Thumel
Winner of the 2016 Dead Lake Chapbook Contest 


"Of course we know that grief can't be hurried or shaped, yet we attempt to wrestle our various losses, to tame the blue fists. There's no way around what's lost, but you can erase what you still have. These poems brilliantly make room for this most basic human impulse—to say goodbye—and take us with unflinching grace into the middle of a 'pile of quiet' where questions are formed and not answered, where sadness is made, stubbornly, a stain that won't be removed." - Emily Kendal Frey

"In life of, Alison Thumel discovers a metaphor for mourning in the domestic work of cleaning house—or is it cleansing the self?—following the untimely death of a loved one.  'Is the heart // in a tidy room?' asks the poet, rummaging, sorting, and sifting through spaces within a self-help book on domestic care in an extraordinary performance of literary erasure.  Surprised by joy in the wake of irretrievable loss, this writer discovers that, from the very beginning, 'Your span is only once. /  You'll brighten. / You'll start.'" - Srikanth Reddy

life of by Alison Thumel / $8.50


artwork by Bonnie Fan