Body on the Wall ranges from eroticism ("confusing my lips with her lips/ her lips with my lips/sus labios, mis labios….") to domestic abuse ("It is my body on the wall, bruised and battered,/and nobody, nobody can say they don't see…."), from self-mutilation to Zen, from coming out ("The Coming-Out Waltz") to domestic love ("we merge our two histories,/create a third that is ours, both bound and free….").
Untangling the many threads that make up a life, Wing writes about being a daughter, violence against women and girls, mental illness, her identity as a lesbian, her love for her wife, and the search for spiritual direction. Beyond this, in each poem, whether it is one of pleasure or pain, there is evident an underlying trust that language and the beauty of words can provide salvation.
Barbara Rockman, author of Sting and Nest: “My garden pleads for one more dance,” writes Michelle Wing. This brave debut collection inhabits landscapes of violence and trauma, but its triumph resides in compassionate and unflinching poems that resound with insight into the resilience of ordinary lives. These poems emanate from the body of a woman eager to heal and be awed by nature’s abundance, to be embraced by human and animal love. Hers are transcendent songs of survival. Rich in metaphor, packing a punch to the gut and heart, Wing’s work is an outpouring of instruction and inspiration for any reader longing to deeply inhale our fragile, dangerous and astounding world. “The rose I give is an explosion . . . this blood-spattered bush cries out in the throes of transformation.” Joining her journey, we are humbled and advised that though, “We are strangers/waiting for our names to be called . . .” we also are kindred souls knee-deep in sweet smelling earth. “Here is wild passion unbound/leaf by leaf.”