by Aura Martin.
In this haunting, ethereal poem we are invited to explore the dreamscape of Olivia DiVincenzo’s world of bodies, gardens, and dreams. “hearts ache. against thin walls.” Within the first line the poet captures our attention, and holds it for the entirety of the poem. The poem shares images of nature and the outside world. “fields of lavender sprout growth driven by hazy sun. yellow watercolor melts into azure” as an example. There are also views of the interior of house and self, such as “she fidgets in between my thighs and my collarbone she drags my mind to delusions worlds where deer have halos and i do not exist.” I love how Olivia easily sways between reflection of self and muses the world around her.
As I step back and look at it, the poem looks like wallpaper, but instead of designs it’s peppered with words. The phrases, all in caps, leap out. “I FEAR I MIGHT DISINTEGRATE. AM I AN ANGEL?” and “REALITY ATTEMPTS TO CONFINE ME.” I find the writer’s use of spacing an interesting artistic choice. Whether you read this silently or aloud, the spaces surprise you and force you to think about what the writer is saying or not saying. The reader is challenged to consider whether the phrase speaks to the previous phrase, or the phrase after. For instance, “I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO PEEL MY SKIN BACK” is one sentence, but each phrase is read separately, independently. See how the meaning can be interpreted in different ways? The poem echoes Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” where you tear not only at the walls but question your own presence and place in the world, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. There is a desire for safety and comfort, to grasp and hold on to loved ones or to those who you wish would love you.
Olivia displays her anguish. She challenges you to confront your own.