In unflinching lyrics, Sue Chenette confronts her father's depression and death. Probing memories, fingering mementos -- a square nail, a sketch on a napkin -- she examines them for what they may reveal of the father she was sure she knew, deepened, in death, into the mystery of his own being. The poems are a journey through grief, both a search for the father she loved and a searching look into a father/daughter relationship.
Old square nail you carried in a pocket,/ fingered among smooth coins --/ rust-pocked, blunt-broken tip --/ rough charm.
The Bones of His Being
is a tender and deeply moving memorial to the life and to the slow, partly self-willed dying, of a much-loved father and husband. These haunting poems deal with depression and joy, with the perception of beauty, and with the pain of loss; they are, profoundly, about love.
M. Travis Lane
On a simple level, The Bones of His Being
is made up of spare, beautiful poems about a father's death: "the weight and shape and rasp" of letting go. But the book is also about silence, the particular silence of a man who decided to die no matter how loved he was by his family. Chenette masters her grief with grace to tell the story candidly and intimately. She and the poems go further than their eloquence; they become a shirt, a talisman, a favourite song; they add up to an extraordinary loss. Even at its most heartbreaking moments, there is a "small painful hope" at the core of this book, a desire and a resolution to understand the truth.