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‘La Treintena’ 2023: 30 (Something) Books of Latinx Poetry

"The Little Deaths. By Mercy Tullis-Bukhari. Get Fresh Books.

This collection by a self-identified “Bronx-bred Afro-Latina American, Honduran, and Garifuna of Jamaican descent” teems with memories and stories of the Bronx, from early school days to love, sex, and family. It also touches upon the return to Honduras, gender roles (“The Heeled Journey”), and self-love (the memorable “Masturbation with THAT Magazine,” subtitled “My Love Letter to Prince”), and it candidly confronts aging in poems such as “Gray Pubic Hair”, “First Mammogram,” and the short and humorous “On Aging.” As the collection progresses, the body’s confrontation with mortality effectively blurs with many little and not-so-little deaths, from the harrowing “DIY: How to Commit a Murder-Suicide While Daughter is in the Apartment” to a series of moving brother poems that conclude the book, including the painfully self-scrutinizing “Dear Brother,” the evocative “Rollerskating with Jesus on the Grand Concourse,” and the poetic prose finale “My Brother’s Keeper,” which attests to Tullis-Bukhari’s power as a storyteller. "

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