Review of Age Brings Them Home to Me by windflower

Age Brings Them Home to Me cover
Age Brings Them Home to Me
Finishing Line Press, 2024, 45 pages

Reviewed by Courtney Heidorn

In her collection Age Brings Them Home to Me, windflower uses the perspective from Mother Earth to see everything life offers: family, love, self-actualization, and justice.

In poems like “I am from the ocean” and “Seeds of Fear,” windflower tells the story of her family’s genealogy as if they were ocean tides. She writes, “I am from the ocean / of my mother’s womb / that liminal space:” (4). The colon at the end of the poem is intentional: it acts as a gateway to the ocean that is her family—the ever-flowing tides and sporadic waves.

“Seeds of Fear” is a prose poem grappling with the mixed feelings family can stir up, especially for queer people. Battling religious trauma, the speaker realizes that their family can be a source of comfort: “The trinity of us huddle on the dusty pink couch in absolution of love” (15). These familial poems ebb and flow like the ocean in content and theme.

In the same vein, love is explored in a romantic sense with the speaker’s voice informed by the natural world. “Canoe me into deep waters” excels in natural imagery: “rain me to the ground, / light breeze me along / the lips of river’s currents, / thunderstorm me lightening / my bones to stars, / serenade me with sweet corn / salty butter dripping / from my mouth” (17). The speaker considers their lover just as essential and beautiful as nature. My personal favorite romantic line imbued with natural imagery is: “kisses that melted glaciers / kisses that know neither season nor coast.” (20). Equating a lover with Mother Earth conveys a deep devotion and is wonderful for a reader to witness.

In addition to genealogy and romantic love, windflower uses her devotion to nature for self-growth. In an anti-capitalist stride, she writes, “But what about those days I just want / to be a leaf on a bough. Waiting / to turn red” (23). It makes sense for windflower to express this sentiment, as nature is in no hurry. Imagining the speaker as a leaf waiting for the gentle renewal of seasons is peaceful and healing.

One poem stands out in Age Brings Them Home to Me. In “My First History Lesson,” windflower recounts the story her tenth-grade biology teacher told her about her son being murdered in Mississippi for registering Black voters. windflower beautifully and concisely tells his story. Even though the subject matter is challenging, this poem aligns with the rest of the collection, since windflower includes her signature nature imagery: “their bloody hands / hollowed stars from the sky / and the moon went mad” (35).

Overall, windflower’s poems are powerful because they are rooted in nature: the most powerful source of creative inspiration. Readers will hear echoes of Mary Oliver in windflower’s poetic voice housed in a chapel in the trees.

Courtney Heidorn (she/they) is a Sinister Wisdom intern. She holds a BA in English and creative writing from Azusa Pacific University. You can see more of their work in CURIOUS Magazine and at Pearl Press.

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