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© Dee Rimbaud

A Fling with the Ground by Stacia M. Fleegal
Finishing Line Press, 2007
Reviewed by Jen Garfield

The dedication reads “For me, for getting over it,” so you have a pretty good idea you’re diving head first into, at best, the poet’s resilience, or at worst, the bloody aftermath of a love affair gone sour. Luckily, Fleegal’s self-reflection is elusive enough to present a lesson in the anatomy of heartbreak that reveals how love’s face darkens when you least expect it. Her poems exist on the cusp of discovery, “a secret about to be told.” She explores the distance, offerings and redemptions of trust and sex, sensually laying out the scene:


You slide your fingers like a letter opened

between my knees, slit me open, wrinkled page,

and like finding the right word instantly,

you touch me out of the argument

we were having in the car about trust


The voice in these poems is also a warning, a young woman cautioning herself in retrospect about love’s decoys and the blind mistakes she has, of course, already committed. There’s a necessary cry for preservation and endurance, and then there are moments of sheer beauty, like when she writes about the title’s female killdeer feigning a broken wing and admits “Her pain/seems so real, a fling/ she’s having/in the glossy rain/ with the ground.”

Though her voice is young (and sure to mature quickly), Fleegal deftly covers the manifestations of loneliness. In one poem, she aligns herself with an avocado, where she “could’ve spoiled/waiting for you examine/ the hard crux of the fruit, waiting/ for you to pick me, pick me.”   Finally, as the collection ends and the dedication promises, she claims resilience, fortitude, and strength. No longer the deer, the avocado, or the vulnerable lover so easily crushed, she is “nothing more than myself.” She has gotten over it.


Finishing Line Press can be found on the web at




Jen Garfield is the poetry editor for Prick of the Spindle. Her poetry has appeared in  numerous journals and recently, she was the recipient of a 2007 Illinois Arts Council Literary Award. Her chapbook, Excuses for Happiness, is forthcoming from Pudding House Press.  This week, she likes Greek mythology, advice columns, and shih tzus. 


© 2007