November 11, 2020 8:36 AM EST

“Let me call my anxiety, desire, then. / Let me call it, a garden,” writes the poet Natalie Diaz in her luminous, tender second collection, a finalist for a National Book Award. A queer Aha Makav woman, Diaz explores the dissonance between the mysticism forced upon her by the white gaze and the miracle of her continued existence. She shows how the history of colonialism and racism is embedded in her, in her hallucinating brother and in her interactions with a lover. As her striking titular poem concludes: “The rain will eventually come, or not. / Until then, we touch our bodies like wounds— / the war never ended and somehow begins again.”

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