Jehanne Dubrow

of Chestertown, MD

Winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award in 2012

A GROUNDING FOR THE
METAPHYSICS OF MORALS

 

Or perhaps the story starts with books on her table.  When the man breaks in, she's sleeping.  Tomorrow: an exam. Tomorrow: a paper due.   She's half-asleep, the sound of someone in the room soft as turning pages. First, he tells her, I heard a noise.  By "he"  is  meant  the   handyman.  And when there is no noise to hear,  he bolts the door.  He grinds her face into the wood.  A cardboard box kicked.  A hand bitten.  That he will kill her if the night stays gray too long, a kind of a priori knowledge.  He read Kant in prison, comics too black and white, dime store pulp too literal in its black and blue. There is an argument for anything, he says:  to drown the small brown dog, to swipe the wallet, even to unlock  the  girl's apartment where she is falling in her sleep.

 



Poem originally appeared in Copper Nickel. 
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Claudia Rankine on Jehanne Dubrow

Each poem in Jehanne Dubrow's manuscript-in-progress translates a form of violence and altogether adds up to a mosaic of assault. Details in these stunning prose poems are presented like mini still lifes creating patterns of preparation for victimization, retaliation, or escape. What should not be connected is interconnected in this sequence. Dubrow understands that before the moment of trauma, the break in time, there was a thing or a thought put in place. Thepoet here is positioned to observe, to picture, and to record in order to communicate coherence in the face of incoherence. The elegance of the writing resides in part in its discretion and its resistance of fantasies of transcendence. Precarity here shadows the feminine, the mother, and the wife. There builds in me anticipation for the completed manuscript as it argues its way through its female subject to positions on survival.  

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