Malaika’s second collection of poems Spill (2011, Main Street Rag) is just as open and fearless as her first collection Lessons in Forgetting (2012, Main Street Rag).
Spill is separated into two sections: Tributaries and Rapids followed by Waterfall and Ocean. Not surprising, water appears throughout these poems from the devasting scene of baby mice drowning in a bucket to the swollen, dangerous rapids of mother daughter relationships and the quest (the journey down the river so to speak) of finding yourself.
There were quite a few poems in this collection that I stopped to read twice such as “Another Look at Meduse” where Malaika writes in the voice of Medusa, “Quick as cobras spit, / she said, The only stone’s / my own thick tongue.”
The only reason I have a 4 instead of 5 star review is that I found the last 10 poems or so didn’t quite resonate as much as the earlier work and I actually think “Ode to Weeds” may have made a stronger ending than the poem that was eventually chosen for the final poem in the collection. That is mostly the editor in me talking. It can be difficult, when working with a narrative arc such as this book has, to find the right poem to end on.
This collection, however, is still one I’d strongly recommend. Malaika is a wonderful poet whose poems seem so very simple on the surface but thei word play and connections once you read them again are just amazing.