The poems in The Body is a Little Gilded Cage by Kristina Marie Darling seem at once wild and still, a strange dance that is just as hypnotic as it is unpredictable. Prose poems, appendices, definitions, erasures, and footnotes give this collection a captivating texture that manages to add to the quiet, glittering language rather than detracts from the spell these poems cast.
Enter a dancehall crowded with rhinestoned guests and dim chandeliers, the sky above you like a cathedral, and try not to find a mythic enchantment in these spell-songs—a pigeon warbling, the turn of a phonograph, a church chorus, snow fall…the many sounds of this strange world where the night seems to last forever and in the dark, history is reimagined with precision.
Yet, despite the cluttered nature of these poems—dusty marble saints and lilies and letters, feathers and stones and endless shards of colored glass, a constant song and dance —you cannot avoid the pervasive loneliness that informs each experience, each scattered understanding. From the very first page there is a perfume of quiet desperation: “Dearest, / one never hears anything from you & / think of it as fragility / I’ll do anything”. This is a speaker who cannot forget the power of sound, and if at times anxious, these poems are never without music, never without accomplishment.