Commitment, by Megan Burns
Commitment is an artifact of pain. Like desire, loss attaches itself to or for an object, but pain remains relegated to the landscape of the imagination, nebulous and without borders. Like Charcot's hysterics, these poems perform pain conscious of the audience's gaze but unable to contain their intimate understanding of it. Divorce, the mother's loss of her children, the brother's suicide, and mental illness all provide external markers for what is essentially a willingness to wade down into the darkest waters of the self. Language dissolves when pain occurs at any high level; the brain loses its ability to make speech. Commitment then is not the epicenter of pain, but a careful retracing over wounds to braid words back onto the unspeakable, to give shape and edges to that which threatens to engulf.