105.1: Cynthia Arrieu-King:: Eternity & Marriage & Dog Called by a Name Not His But More Apt
21 May 2012
Eternity is the world in which “endings are scarce.” But in our human world, endings seem all too common. For the speaker in Cynthia Arrieu-King’s “Eternity,” there’s something lovable about this human world of endings: the way a white expanse of snow is plowed over, the way man-made materials mediate our experience. In each of these intriguing prose poems, Arrieu-King thrusts two different worlds into relief against each other. In “Marriage,” the material symbol of fidelity is thrown as jewelry into the bay. This concrete symbol of commitment is juxtaposed with the swans, which thwart their own status as romantic tropes by being interested not in the future but in the moment. In “Dog Called by a Name Not His But More Apt,” the domestic sphere is bifurcated into the dreamlike and the harsh, the not-there and the there. In this final poem, what’s not there is felt just as much if not more than what’s actually there; the snow that’s yet to come and the dreams of a dog hold less mystery than the very real laugh of a neighbor. The speaker’s ability to imagine the dog’s dreams makes them another man-made creation. Which brings us back to the two worlds set up in “Eternity.” Though the man-made glove makes the experience of touch a little more difficult to apprehend, the experience is more valuable because of its subtlety and uncertainty. It ignites the imagination, that most man-made of all things, which inspires Arrieu-King’s—and, in turn, the reader’s—love for these worlds.