Each Wild Thing’s Consent by Lauren Davis / Poetry Wolf Press / 30 pages / 2018 / digital ($8) and soft bound ($10). All proceeds benefit Dove House Advocacy Services, which provides crisis intervention and advocacy services to victims of domestic and sexual violence.
In this collection evocatively titled Each Wild Thing’s Consent, the poet Lauren Davis has graced us with poems of piercing self-reflection, including explorations of nature’s healing power, and the everyday humanness of sacred sites. In moments of revelatory honesty, in which poems such as Vulvodynia and Vaginismus firmly anchor this collection in the body, Davis interrogates what it means to desire physical intimacy with a beloved, while grappling with the trauma of a vaginal disorder. We are in the presence of complex observations that reach beyond the dualities of body and spirit, lover and beloved, pain and desire, while also acknowledging the all-too-human desire for the powerful physicality of coupling:
Beloved, never not ever will I braid
your absence through my hair.
I will not accept the single-bodied bed.
(”Most of All”)
These poems offer the reader a lesson in confessional courage and school us in the power of acute observation. Davis is not afraid of the truth, trusting her art and the reader’s sympathetic intelligence:
Anything to let you in, I sat for all the doctors.
I trembled on their examination tables, tore the white paper.
Graduate students thrusted fingers inside,
Noted the spasms, their eyes not on mine.
(“My Body Incapable”)
The distilled, elegant lines and effective use of spacing and pauses, set a well-crafted pace:
When I am finished friends will call you
(“I Will Cocoon You”)
These poems travel effortlessly from the sea to the forest, from France to Shasta, seeking something-dare I say holy, or at least transformative. Even during a physical therapist’s visit, barriers dissolve:
Who has contemplated more than you my body’s grief?
Who else has mapped my shadowlands?
(“To My Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist”)
Each Thing’s Wild Consent quietly conveys the poet’s vision in clean lines and lyrical images which capture nature’s wild enticements, along with the very human reality of physical desire kept in check by deeply personal physical limitations, yet there is nothing ashamed, resigned, or impatient here. Instead we are given the gift of love’s compassionate, ever-evolving grace.
I cannot make love to you tonight. It hurts too much.
I beg you to me. My thighs clasp you out.
Forever, you say, we have forever to wait.
(“My Body Incapable”)