Have you ever woken from a dream that was so tangible, the damn thing haunted you for months after? If not, read Kiki Petrosino’s Fort Red Border (Sarabande Books) instead. Her debut collection is, for the most part, comprised of poems about a fantasized affair with actor Robert Redford and all the psychic turmoil that comes with it. Even though the book’s title is an anagram for Redford’s name, these poems aren’t just imaginative love letters written with winking metaphor. They are relentless invitations into the dopamine dungeon of all things paramour and an examination of our own connections to one another. “Water warm enough?” Redford asks Petrosino in the opening line of the first poem, “Wash,” in which he intimately bathes her using a jar of water naturally heated by the sun. “The pale ribs move in Redford’s flank./It’s these that help him breathe./Ribs have their own set of shadows, their own lights./I count the shadows, then./I count the lights.” Indeed, Petrosino spends the next glorious, sweat-inducing 83 pages charting the shadows and the lights—both intra and interpersonal—giving us permission to live under her skin, and dig deeper under our own.
Fort Red Border, $14.95, sarabandebooks.com
This review appears in the Dec/Jan 2012 issue of BUST Magazine with Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Subscribe now.
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.