Rachel Mennies

The Naomi Letters

Rachel Mennies embraces the public/private duality of writing letters in her latest collection of poems. Told through a time-honored epistolary narrative, The Naomi Letters chronicles the relationship between a woman speaker and Naomi, the woman she loves.

Set mostly over the span of a single year encompassing the 2016 Presidential Election and its aftermath, their love story unfolds via correspondence, capturing the letters the speaker sends to Naomi—and occasionally Naomi’s responses, as filtered through the speaker’s retelling. These letter-poems form a braid, first from the use of found texts, next from the speaker’s personal observations about her bisexuality, Judaism, and mental illness, and lastly from her testimonies of past experiences. As the speaker discovers she has fallen in love with Naomi, her letters reveal the struggles, joys, and erasures she endures as she becomes reacquainted with her own body following a long period of anxiety and suicidal ideation, working to recover both physically and emotionally as she grows to understand this long-distance love and its stakes—a love held by a woman for a woman, forever at a short, but precarious distance.
50 printed pages
Original publication
2021

Impressions

    Crystal Vega-Huertashared an impression3 months ago
    👍Worth reading

Quotes

    Matilde Merinohas quoted3 months ago
    But Naomi, last night I slept.

    I disappeared from my body and returned only when I was ready.
    Crystal Vega-Huertahas quoted3 months ago
    How do I look away now that I have seen you?
    Crystal Vega-Huertahas quoted3 months ago
    The problem with certainty lives in its instability: how this afternoon I sliced open a peach at its seam, finding it gone to mush.

    I licked each wet wrist before I threw the peach in the garbage.

    Yesterday it would have been delicious—the day before, inedible.

    What I’m trying to say, Naomi, is you found me at the exact right time.

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