Nathan Shepherdson’s new collection, parallel equators, is a book in five sections, under the five vowels, and through the five apparatus of one hand. It attempts to return its messages to a sender (or senders) locked somewhere in a haze of accidental truths. Words travel at irregular pace on a walking tour through a dissociative alphabet of concepts and images. Fingernails, silence, glass, leaves, eyelids, absence, lungs, and full stops all become entangled as ‘body types’ in this idiosyncratic language. Patterns repeat the self. Transcriptions of conversations between elegy and memory possess a natural cadence that counts out the oxygen molecules in life’s strange abacus.
Shepherdson’s poems are snap-fingered mosaics, dry ingredients holding their breath, so as not to sink, as they unexpectedly set on wet paper surfaces. Is Shepherdson a well-grounded, metaphoric-driven pragmatist, or a quiet, well-meaning fantasist, who wanders off each day, towel in hand, to meet Heraclitus for an afternoon swim?