You can pre-order our new Wildness Omnibus (2015–19) edition now!

‘Exoskeleton’ by Anna Sandy

— Reneé Bibby

Anna Sandy’s poem ‘Exoskeleton’ is one of those poems you can thoroughly enjoy one way, then tilt it a bit into a different light and enjoy in a new way. The misalignment of maternal and filial connection is the narrative heart of the poem, yet the framing of the narrative, an insectile birth followed by years of awkward and emotionless parenting, can be read as a commentary on the inherent alieness and invasiveness of pregnancy followed by the more-common-than-we’d-like-to-think disillusionment of parenting. It can also be read as a medical indictment of how a traumatic birthing process ruptured the natural and usual bonding of mother and infant. Another, and perhaps my favorite way, is to see the poem as two specific people, a cosmic misfire of personalities where a woman’s capacity for affection and love is too shallow to nourish this child. Any way it’s read, the poem is dark, wonderful and heartbreaking.


Nightjar Review