Saltwater Under Brittle Sky: A Chapbook of Poetry
A Review by SaraEve Fermin
They say that we are made of about sixty percent water, give or take. Some of us more—babies, men, maybe water signs. Imagine a world of blues and greens. Close your eyes, water everywhere—lapping at your feet, falling gently into your cupped hands, misting gently to envelop your face. Water warm and gentle, water cleansing and bright.
Lori DeSanti’s Saltwater Under Brittle Sky is a lot like taking a walk through a sun shower on your own island, like waiting for the clouds to break and dry any wet that remains on your cheek—from dew to tears. This collection of poems is compact but beautiful, unpretentious in their succinct on page presentation. Each of the nineteen pages is no more than two pages long, and the collection is small enough to tuck into a back or inside coat pocket, a collection asking to be read in the open air, under trees and next to running streams.
In ‘The Artist’, DeSanti manages to capture the sharp beauty of South Shore, Bermuda. She gives the cove a personification that renders this land ancient and begging to be discovered, reminding us of how small we are in God’s palms-
god cupping teal water in his palm as it
dripped in big gulps from his chin.
There is a vein of darkness that runs through this collection, shadows that hide among the breeze. These poems temper the lightness of DeSanti’s work; keep the poems from floating away. The ‘Brittle’ of the title can be found in ‘Disclosure’-
I am full of sin and it’s growing.
How can you not know what
I’ve let his hands make of me?
Still, we return to water, like a stream empties into the ocean, like tears evaporating. There is a reminder that sadness can be all encompassing, that sorrow can be the beginning of healing-
Sometimes the rain is cathartic—sometimes I find myself
drowning in a puddle without even getting wet.
There is a triumph to this collection, my favorite part. There is a reminder that in the mess of a struggle sometimes you have to ground yourself. Sometimes the only thing that you have to rely on is yourself. DeSanti reminds us that survival is attainable by metamorphosis, like in ‘Metaphor’:
We can grow scales in
the darkness or we can forget
there is venom building
in our teeth.
DeSanti reminds us to revolt against the water in our bodies. This brave collection carefully examines relationships with the earth, the self, with love and with her wild ocean heart. For who are we if not people constantly thrown into a current of emotions, forced to navigate the waters of humanity, each of us paddling our own boat madly, looking to make a connection with another? DeSanti reminds us that there are islands out there, waiting to be inhabited and perfumed with love. All you need to do is reach for them.
Let the ocean beat you
down to size. It teaches us.
-Bury That Moment
Saltwater Under Brittle Sky is available now from Swimming by Elephants Publishing. Order from Amazon here. To learn more about the author visit loridesantipoetry.wordpress.com.
Book Reviews by SaraEve Fermin:
SaraEve is a performance poet and epilepsy advocate from New Jersey. A 2015 Best of the Net nominee, she has performed for both local and national events, including the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam and for the Greater Los Angeles Epilepsy Foundation 2015 Care and Cure Benefit to End Epilepsy in Children. The Editor in Chief of Wicked Banshee Press, a Contributing Editor for Words Dance Magazine and Book Reviewer for Swimming With Elephants Publications, her work can be found or is forthcoming in GERM Magazine, Words Dance Magazine, Drunk in a Midnight Choir and the University of Hell Anthology We Can Make Your Life Better: A Guidebook to Modern Living,, among others. Her first full length book, View From The Top of the Ferris Wheel, will be published be Emphat!c Press in 2016. She believes in the power of foxes and self publishing. Learn more here: http://saraeve41.wix.com/saraevepoet