Four Way Books
Immaculate Fuel
by Mary Jane Nealon

ISBN: 1-884800-53-X
paper, 56 pages, $14.95

What holds a reader and keeps that reader returning to the poems of Mary Jane Nealon is the keen-edged and tensile strength of her compassion. At once longing to be priest, saint, caregiver, to become the lake that holds and suspends her, she is never far from a woman who wishes only to discover a way to lay my hand/on the spinning blade of a heart. Walt Whitman's genius found its path as Whitman attended wounded soldiers of the Civil War, and Nealon, as a traveling nurse and poet, becomes an attendant as well, beside the beds of train jumpers, transients, streetwalkers, and police captains. Her vision is telescopic, sliding in and out, overlapping, allowing the polyphony of voices to unfold and become fully articulated. Dialogic, kaleidoscopic, her mirrors reflect intense layers of culture, of love and family, of hope and collapse. I'll be missed and will have to huddle with all says a thirteen-year-old narrator in the opening poem, as she stands in the rain, poised between the mundane and the extraordinary, watching for a landing of her own distant species on the moon.

—Sandra Alcosser