Tender. Moving. Refreshing. These are just a few of the words that come to mind upon reading The Day is Ready for You. Alison Malee crafts each poem with skill and intention. An expert in storytelling, she beautifully weaves together a collection of vivid imagery and heartfelt emotion.
An excerpt from “Wanting”:
“…we are such flighty birds, such utter romantics. We will kiss each other on open mouths and breathe promises into existence, and when we fall asleep, we will both dream about the white feathered backs of wings.”
I love how her words fill the reader with wonder and enchantment. She writes about love and loss with understanding and appreciation.
“Everything ends. Everything ends. Everything ends. But, my heart still whispers, does it have to?”
This excerpt comes from “Does It”, and it is one of my favorite lines because Malee perfectly describes how it feels to find yourself at an ending to a story you weren’t ready to leave yet. She writes about the pain and the restlessness that often follows and the importance of addressing that feeling: giving it a name, giving it closure.
Throughout the collection, Malee writes with sage-like wisdom about heartbreak, uncertainty, and finding the strength to accept love and to extend that love to ourselves. She writes with an honesty and a vulnerability that readers can relate to instantly. In the poem “Forging”, Malee writes:
“…Wondering how to breathe softer. Make less noise. Make more money. Make someone else happy. Accept defeat when asked to. Do, Bend, Break. Because she is woman. We create from nothing. We are sisters, mothers, friends. all. And yet, still. still. We spend lifetimes trying to undo our own spines.”
I love this piece because I feel like every woman has experienced this before. We spend so much time trying to please others, trying to convey an image that is attractive and acceptable. We go to such lengths to feel validated and worthy. We minimize ourselves to make others feel more comfortable or we hush the rumbling in our hearts to assure that no one becomes afraid of our voices. But, this poem is a beautiful tribute to women everywhere: our peers, friends, future daughters.
It’s a poem that inspires each and every one of us to be who we are, no apologies, no modifications. This piece is a testament to the strength of all women: past, present, and future. It is a piece of writing that is so relevant to our lives that it should be bookmarked, highlighted, written on the margins of our grocery lists. We were not created to sit on the sidelines, we were created to shine authentically and without abandon; we were created to be brave.
Another thing I love about this collection is how much truth you find in the author’s words. Malee writes about the importance of love that fills your heart with purpose, and the equally important skill of walking away when you find temporary or “less than” love.
She writes about love that heals, love that teaches us to move forward holding the hand of another. She also writes about how love can harm us and all of the conflicting emotions that go along with toxicity and heartbreak. However, whether you find yourself experiencing love or loss, you’ll find the same underlying tone throughout this whole collection: hope and healing.
“…the truth or the secret was (is) that I love(d) you like an endless Seattle rain. And I was daily certain that was the only kind of infinity that mattered.”
How beautiful is that? This excerpt from “Solid” made my heart so full. And, that is the biggest takeaway I can tell you about this book. The author writes about so many raw human emotions. She empties her heart into her poems, but somehow, the process leaves her readers feeling full: of love, of warmth, of hope.
And, that is one of the most sensational feelings you can have after reading a collection: that feeling of understanding that life is messy but that your feelings are valid, your capacity to love is infinite, and yes, you are ready: to face yourself, your demons, your life. Or as the author so appropriately names her collection: “The day is ready for you.”