Exploring the Depths of the Voice

Guest Post by Brooke M. Smith.

Poet and essayist Jessica Sabo explores the depths of the voice within her collection of poems. A Body of Impulse offers a magnifying lens into a woman’s life reflections. An Adelaide Literary Award in Poetry finalist (2020), Sabo lays bare a rawness leaving the reader to feel commiseration with her protagonist.

In “What I Should Have Said Instead of ‘Nothing,’” Sabo’s use of metaphors and imagery detail the pain and process of wanting to be understood:

It is a cancer, mom
eating me alive from the inside like a plague
and I am so raw I can’t feel the pain anymore. I can’t feel anymore. I can’t anymore. This hollowing is the only time I feel whole
and I know–I know! I could fight back if I really tried
and if I really wanted it
but I don’t want it, mom. I get so tired of being the outsider. Tired of living in this body that has
never been a home. I am homesick, mom. I am sick, mom.

Reading these last stanzas of her poem provoked a question most humans ask in life: Who am I? Am I happy with who I am . . . who I’ve become?  Self-acceptance is a process, and a painful one at times. The ending of her poem “Requital spotlights our imperfections as women and being human.  Acceptance of our choices, learning to accept ourselves as whole and worthy, no matter the condition we are in.

Now, it is my naked body in front of a mirror
a road map of
razor scars and stretch marks, faded tattoos
piercings that refuse to close. It is here I am
learning how to say mine without stutter
refusing to apologize for taking up (too               much) sidewalk. Learning to fill the space
reserved for all my apologies.

Jessica Sabo’s beautifully threaded lines leave readers pondering these questions in her three-part poetry collection.


A Body of Impulse by Jessica Sabo. Dancing Girl Press & Studio, 2021.

Reviewer bio: Brooke M. Smith is a librarian who loves cats, coffee, cozy mysteries, camping, and many other things that don’t begin with the letter C.  She also is a poetry editor for 805 Lit + Art Magazine.

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