‘Prehistory’ by Sara Ryan

— Reneé Bibby

What if you are interested in the hidden things—the bones and interior architecture of living creatures? What if you’re interested in the particles of the past and what the remnants of living things can tell us about the present? You could become an archaeologist. Or, you could become a poet.

At turns sad and triumphant, Sara Ryan tracks the trajectory of making, how parental expectations and pressure stymie the natural flow of childhood passion and curiosity, a beaver-damn of disapproval that redirects interests into new causeways: a young woman, discouraged from pursuing her interest in the natural world, becomes an archaeologist of the self; the written word the hand shovel to dig up the bones of one’s own prehistory. Maybe she doesn’t go on to become Indiana Jones, but she’s found a way, persevered to dig deep into the soil and uncover what’s true and fundamental.

Gordon Square Review