by Jacques J. Rancourt
Alice James Books. 102 pages, $18.95
TWO MEN HIKE to the top of a cliff. Cast on clouds of mist, their shadows appears huge and haloed. This is the optical phenomenon called the Brocken Spectre, the logical one explains. The sensitive one comprehends yet also wonders: Is this what a soul looks like? The poems in Brocken Spectre, Jacques J. Rancourt’s second full-length collection, document the evolving relationship between these two men, a doctor and a poet. On their first date, they walk through a San Francisco park. A man they pass crumples to the ground, seized by a heart attack. The doctor tries and fails to revive him, yet his valiant effort wins the poet’s everlasting admiration. This stranger’s death gives birth to their relationship.
Unfolding in the present day, this relationship stands in the long shadow of the AIDS crisis.
____________________________________________________ Michael Quinn reviews books for literary journals, for the Brooklyn newspaper The Red Hook Star-Revue, and for his own website, mastermichaelquinn.com.