A beautiful collection of clear, grounded, surprising and moving poems about creating friendships and letting go loved ones, taking in whatever good there is to be had, and cutting out the damaged parts, and letting them go. Never over-poetic, simply graceful, smart, and necessary.
Like the bird that ‘curves its tiny bones around the twigs of wobbly branches,’ these poems adapt to and ride the most fierce and fragile of circumstances. Whether from the nursing home or the broken relationship -- and with humor and forgiveness -- the poems in Dutiful Heart bloom where they are planted. Joy Gaines-Friedler's tender work reminds us to stay tethered, to keep refilling the feeder and always bring ‘something sweet for the table.’
So fine to have Ms. Gaines-Friedler's poems in the world -- recording as they do with grace and proper gravitas the shift between generations, seasons, those watershed moments that move one day irretrievably into another.