Whenever my mother takes
the stairs, I remember
how he pushed her down

arms abandoning her face
to circle her pregnant belly,
cracking like a watermelon
at my feet.

Three months later,
Mom moves us home
from the shelter,
restraining order circling
like an electric fence

from “The Last Bruise”

When dads are too father to be dad, there’s not much room for niceties. There’s not a lot of room for words or wrongs, and sometimes – even at your most right – you are just plain wrong. Wrong leads to cuts and bruises. Cuts and bruises lead to silence, lead to knives and stomaches, and the need to become “the fracture that makes the needle jump, land on anything but this”. But in the end, cuts and bruises can bloom and become anew.

Arhm Choi Wild’s Cut to Bloom (Write Bloody) feels like an epic – each poem a new scene in the story. This collection is family when family has abandoned you. These are the words you need when you find yourself “on your aunt’s porch one winter, / holding a small note / instructing you to wait”. This is what you’ll use to rise again. This is your phoenix.

Wild offers us a window seat to watch the bloom – the rebirth of family. You don’t have to live in fractures, because “no one / dies from loss unless you take the knife and flay / the veins on your thigh like the belly of a small fish.” And we aren’t going to do that. Instead, we’re going to read Cut to Bloom, and in doing so, take a deep dive into our own lives.

Purchase your copy of Cut to Bloom from Write Bloody.

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