Read This: Breach by Anne Haines
My new weekly post on books you must read begins today with Breach ($14, Finishing Line Press) by Anne Haines. I knew Anne was a fine a poet from the work she's posted on her blog and from what I've read in various journals. However, I wasn't prepared for the absolute brilliance of her chapbook. There is an undeniable sense of wanting in these poems, and a building sense of stagnancy (or "entrophy" as one poem suggests) that only the seashore can wash clean. The word "breach" appears in various forms throughout the collection, including the leaping whales that break the surface of the ocean. The moon, the tides, the waxing and waning of love, the change of seasons are all here in elegant detail. The narrator is "landlocked" and, like another definition of breach, her future is on temporary hold. Harbingers and incidents are all linked in some way back to the sea, which seems so close and so far away. Breach moved me; made me catch my breath. Every poem and every line is essential.
Every day I sleep a little bit longer,
lose a little bit more.
There are no whales here, not even zoos.
An unfamiliar bird squawks outside my window.
There is a landscape I'm in love with,
far from here. It cannot send me flowers
or call me on the phone. I dream
of water at the tideline, kelp and wrack,
wake salt-stained. I am tired
of every form of longing.
This landlocked bed rocks and rocks
me back to sleep for hours
till I wake irretrievably, gray, displaced.
I consult the atlas, the encyclopedia of weather,
the fortune teller's cards. Consensus:
an approaching front, an unbreachable border,
my own sense of resignation. But listen:
it's almost autumn. The first trees
are already changing , leaves gone the color
of the edge of something, the last
flare of warmth as I hurtle, coiled
in sheets like a dangerous animal,
towards another equinox, towards that balance
of all my days here in the center of the world.