Grappling with a fear rooted in her by the end times sermons of her Southern youth, Joni Tevis seeks out apocalypse, destruction, and their aftermath in this heart-wrenching, but ultimately triumphant collection. Mining sources as disparate as the Bible and nuclear history, Tevis couples seemingly unrelated phenomena to reveal deeper meaning: reflections on Buddy Holly’s last days lead to the Doom Town, where the American government tested the effects of nuclear weapons on suburban populations. Liberace’s last days are juxtaposed with the entertainment complex the military built around weapons testing. Relating her own experience of childbirth to an Italian medical museum and ANWR, she explores both creating and losing life in a world freighted with danger.
Throughout, Tevis brings a new sense of wonder to the objects and phenomena surrounding us, guiding the reader through a subtle arc from dread to acceptance, of the cycles of death and rebirth that rule our lives, even when we resist them.