Selah, a book of poems by Joshua Corey, reverberates in your ears like bellsong. The biblical title refers to Corey’s lyrical use of silence within these contemporary psalms. We hear the knell of these words and learn or are reminded about how the depths of loss can take us spiraling.

The arc of the book follows a mother’ illness, death, and rest. Rather than tell the story, though, the poems guide us through the experience of the experience. Mythology offers passage. In “Real Prognosis,” we are ushered in and shown the view out the hospital window:

beyond the elms a horizon
and beyond that a rocky beach
and beyond beach the theory of the day
is: drowning, daily engulfment in things….

The later poems resonate with the kind of acceptance that is possible, consolation.

After a time I
cleared some space.
After a fashion her
gone was gone.

And then there’s transcendance, such as in “Notes for the New Creation,” in which “What we’ve survived shall enter/ and kingdom be a nightlit pier.” Selah pushes on the language of the lyric, and the music continues on in your ear long after the music ends.

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