A confession is not just an admission of truth. A confession pulls the listener into a close relationship with the confessor. We share in the burden of the truth and the story. Sasha Steensen's
poems, instead of marking the boundary between herself and reader, incorporate us into her story: "writer was— we were— / in a family / how its means / meant you’ve been there too." By reading the poems, we have agreed to share her burden, and Steensen shifts that burden onto our shoulders: "will you hear your head say: / you belong to this family, / and you should know it. / Not just know it, understand it. / Accept it" until we as readers become inextricable from the poems: "They will wonder if you’ll be coming back, / and they will worry about how to fill the space / you once filled."
All I’m doing is gazing into a gaze. His gaze, the gaze of a dead man. I want my vertigo to be symbiotic, but I never met—and never will meet—Larry Levis.