In her new collection, Earth, Mercy, Mary Rose O'Reilley sifts through the debris of human habitation-pink thong sandals, curlers, broken televisions-looking for a kind of junkyard grace: "Holiness enters again / turquoise fins, and the Cessna's carapace / lifts on its wind."
The first poem, "Genesis," locates the reader in Edenic time, "in that humid and green / arrival," while the last, "Watching the End of the World from Hovland, Minnesota," gives nature a final word: "Morels on goat prairie gloat / in their blue light. Spruce / speaking of green on green." Between these points, any poem offers a threshold over which something unexpected may pass-a ghost, an angel, or the yap of an insouciant dog alerting us to apocalypse.
Against all that threatens our survival, Earth, Mercy asserts the beauty of our poignantly sensual life.