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Paperback, 112 pages
“O'Neill's forceful, exceptional debut collection throbs with vitality and bursts with meaning as she examines personal relationships and her role in them. A significant portion of the collection consists of insightful, thought-provoking meditations on her relationship with her father, and she writes of it with scientific detail: ‘Repeat my father's unfamiliar language: quick/ pick on the Pick 6. My first lottery. All hope// hung on a receipt.’ A beautifully articulated sense of yearning permeates the poems and bleeds through the pages, as when she writes, ‘I take this/ currency to bed with me, sleep in a nest/ with the ghost of our sweat.’ She captures the mesmerization of young love and its sting without resorting to cliché or didacticism: ‘Another week of cake for lunch daily with a boy I loved/ who loved me. But I have no sweet tooth// & it's better to burn than be touched.’ Though often sparse and marked with quiet sentiment, O'Neill's dexterous and vibrant language conveys desire magnificently: ‘Her height in hours. Her hand in mine. The night, caught/ in a single breath, a moth seduced by artificial light.’ Never cloying or saccharine, O'Neill's poems ache with grief, loneliness, and the human need to feel loved.” —Publishers Weekly