The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded
poems, Molly McCully Brown
Persea Books, 2017
As a child, I worried that if those around me lived longer and longer, and that if those I didn’t know remained healthy, then the ghosts I so badly wanted to see would get lonely. Or, as a child, I worried about ghosts. I mention this, here, as I’ve recently read Molly McCully Brown’s The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, a firsthand recreation that doubles origin, and any actual age seems now an exit for distance. These poems, patient and unsparing, do not give voice to, nor take voice from, but instead listen so accurately as to safely carry sound in its ear-shaped cradle from the ruins of its temporary past while opening for touch its unreachable window. Thankful and serious, this narrative drowning, this new air, is an act of rehomed balance and of outside faith. Brown is a caller, a clearer of place, and honors not only the accidental locale, but also the toll such calling takes on the summoned. What a held note. What brutal kindness.
reflection by Barton Smock