In this slim book of poems and stories, Henry Joe Sakala explores themes of romantic love, night terrors, the schism between appearance and reality, and the fragility of moral standards.
Sakala’s book offers two stories and five poems. In Night Nurse, he examines the idea of morals, indicating that such standards can’t be truly held until they’re tested. As the protagonist confronts several issues, including whether to save the man who killed her boyfriend or let him die, Sakala suggests that a person can move to one side or another of a moral line in the flicker of a thought.
Sakala uses his story, “Passing the Bone,” and his poem, “They say they love me,” to illustrate the divide between appearance and reality. In “Passing the Bone,” two dogs observe the barbaric cruelty of their master, reputedly a good man. In the poem, a beggar contrasts the lip service the wealthy give to charity with the meanness of their actions. Another poem, “In My Skin,” expands on the theme of illusory impressions by showing how labels diminish a person.
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