Hands Washing Water (Paperback)
Copper Canyon Press, 9781556592478, 83pp.
Publication Date: October 1, 2006
"Chris Abani's poetry resonates with a devastating beauty which cuts through to the heart of human strength."--Pride
Hands Washing Water is Chris Abani's fourth poetry collection--a mischievous book of displacement, exile, ancestry, and subversive humor. The central section, "Buffalo Women," is a Civil War correspondence between lovers that plays on our assumptions about war, gender, morality, and politics.
I know we promised to be honest,
one to the other, but your recent missive,
though welcome as any epistle from you,
filled me with a dread that clung
like dampness to wet wood. I am terrified
for your immortal soul, dear sweet Henri.
This mad war of Lincoln is infecting you
with a sickness too depraved to even address. . .
Abani's writing is ruthless, at times traumatic, and consistently filled with surprising twists and turns.