Poetry & Prosthetics

March 21, 2018 - Poetry, Reviews
Author: Jillian Weise
Publisher: Soft Skull Press

The Amputee’s Guide to Sex by Jillian Weise is an electric and audacious collection of poetry that shows readers the complexity behind emotional and sexual intimacy when it comes to having a prosthetic leg. The poems are a dance set to (at times) hesitant music: the agile movement of sex with the unfriendly metal of a prosthetic seems incompatible to an unaware society.

However, to Weise, having a disability doesn’t keep a person from being a badass anywhere, including within the confines of the bedroom. Sardonic, thorny language litters the poems and adds an element of sarcasm, humor, and confidence to the collection, like this line in “Abscission”: “Your favorite post-coital pastime \ is nicknaming my scars.” However, poems like “Despite” show the micro aggressions that she faces even in moments of intimacy: “The leg would \ not slide on & would not \ slide on. He said he rather \ liked it, could \ kiss despite it. I know \ that word. It means \ the desire to hurt someone,” assaulting the reader with a delicate blow of irritation and pain.

As relationships become more intimate throughout the collection, so do the heartbreaks. “His hand felt the plastic of my leg \ and he froze. It was our first and last \ week. He called to say he wasn’t ready \ to date me…I thought he would make it. He had \ a dead father three years back. \ If that doesn’t show how entirely useless \ the body becomes, than what does?” reads the poem “Bust,” leaving the reader with the aching whisper of a question. The short, choppy line breaks and innovative images throughout the collection create a beautiful and enthralling world in which the arts and the human body are morphed, discovered, and uncovered deliciously.


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