Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s poems explore the mysteries of love

DWpml2GU8AAuwLoNick Ripatrazone at Poetry Magazine:

Nezhukumatathil’s villanelle is ultimately the song of a woeful narrator whose carefree prelude sours into longing. “I’ll finger the rim on the paper coffee cup / you leave in my car. When I hear your name I can’t forget // how your long torso pressed against my bare back, / bluish in this early light,” the narrator says, the turn from tenderness to eroticism capturing the pain of being separated from a lover. Soon, longing explodes into full-throated lament: “There is no lack // of how it haunts me still—what I bid—lost, sacked / and wrapped for other girls.” The narrator thinks to herself, “I should have looked up / to see who else was bidding” on her lover’s heart, but instead, she says, “I studied the folds in your jacket.”

Other poems in At the Drive-In Volcano connect the anxieties of love to broader cultural themes. In “First Anniversary, With Monkeys,” the narrator and her husband are lost in the Periyar Nature Preserve in southern India, where the narrator’s “tube / of sunblock is as warm as a baby’s bottle.” She’s thankful that her husband’s hands can cover the places she can’t reach and that he “never worried if our families would clash” and “never worried // about my relatives staring at [his] pale, muscled calves.”

more here.