There is a naivety in the speaker at the beginning of Skeleton Parade. She moves from a distinct air of innocence to someone who has weathered abuse at the hands of men who lack any sort of empathy toward her. Because of this she believes pain accrued is simply part of life and develops a calloused outlook on love and sex. The moments in these poems where she realizes she’s not an active participant in sexual encounters — instead being an object for these men’s use — build an understanding why she’d have this bleak outlook. As she grows, she obtains wisdom and a better appreciation of who she is as a person.

“looking for god”
ran away one summer
turned some dusty corner looking for god
and his greasy hands made their way to my zipper.
passed me around the hotel room like a cheap bottle of wine,
hard hands holding my gasping mouth
to the cheap comforter.
forcing me to breathe in the sins
of a thousand other lonely souls
who passed by this little intersection
looking for god.

Skeleton Parade is an intimate and raw collection of poetry. Blust has opened a vein into her past and streamlined the pain directly on the page. Not only do we get to read this, but the way she has written these poems we’re able to experience her story on a deeper visceral level. This isn’t a collection that will inspire and uplift, but it’s sure as hell one that will stick with you by making an undeniable impression.

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