In the pivotal poem "Marking Time," which appears almost exactly halfway through Peter Filkins's fourth collection of poetry, the speaker reflects on the death of a sibling and how time is marked by our memories. These memories, these momentswhether spent contemplating a painting by Vermeer or the simple toss of a bean bagultimately shape who we are. "Yet you are with me here, with me here again, / where neither that moon nor you exist, but live / tethered to this memory composed of words."
These are poems unafraid to be graceful and engaging. They attain an assurance and stability rare in contemporary poetry, while their careful balance of sadness and joy reminds the reader of the difficult negotiations we make in life.