by Anita Cantillo.
Calia Jane Mayfield’s poem, “my hands sit on my throat when I try and remember my name,” offers the reader a series of images that at first feel startling and disjointed. But a closer look shows an astute orientation to natural landscapes and the ecology of the body and the inherent connection between the two. Present within the lines of this beautiful prose is a close observation of the natural world, an intimacy the voice of the poem shares with ants and German Shepherds alike. And yet, there’s also a desire to know more, it would seem, in lines such as this one, where the yearning is palpable: “…the lake is named after my/ hometown and could hold so many of me and i can’t hold any/ version of it.” We find a speaker at once tapped into the very fiber of the universe—a voice that understands her body is part of the natural world, too— and also grappling with the ever elusive essence of creation. How is it that “somedays i don’t know the weather but i’ve relearned the contours of my shoulders a million times over?” How can we remember being eight and the bite of an ant, but forget the sting of getting a body piercing? These ponderings bid the reader to stare at their own reflection in the mirror, to connect the gossamer lines that transcend time and space and link us to the surrounding world. Mayfield’s poem is an invitation to be still, to memorize the lines of our bodies or a blade of grass, to imagine our next life.