The Horror Zine Review

Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning

by Michelle Scalise

  • Paperback: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Lvp Publications (April 30, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1645629988
  • ISBN-13: 978-1645629986
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.1 x 8 inches




by Michelle Scalise

Review by Jeani Rector

I am unable to understand or even comprehend the grief experienced by one who lost a very close loved one. I have not experienced a devastating, life-changing, gut-wrenching loss. I did lose my mother, but by that time, she was deep into Alzheimer’s, so her death was, at least, the end of her suffering.

In reading Michelle Scalise’s Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning, I have a better understanding of grief. My understanding may be vicarious, but nonetheless, it is deep. Scalise’s love for her writer husband, the best-selling Tom Piccirilli, is not just apparent, but bursts off the pages of Dragonfly.

That is not to say that the burst is loud. Instead, her writing is a quiet, deep introspection of the emotion itself: grief. She explores her own heart, but also reveals how the world can seem intolerant of her grief. The world thinks, “Okay, that’s enough time, move on now.”

From “Government Rules for War Widows”

Where’s your pride?
Stop exposing open wounds.
We’ll accept the quiet humility
Of a disconsolate widow instead.

One of the most heartbreaking poems is about Piccirilli directly, “Words he Remembered”

He couldn’t see her anymore
Morphine shuttered his eyes

But he didn’t grieve his own loss,
She’d do that for him.
It was the stories
He’d forgotten to tell
That ran like deer in the mountains

And from “Thunder and Rain” comes the despair Scalise feels about thinking she’d overcome childhood trauma

You were never safe from the storm
I was a fool for believing
There was ever a prize
For surviving a childhood in shackles.

On the surface, Dragonfly is a book of poetry. But one you open its pages, you will see just how much Scalise dives beneath the surface. It touched me emotionally; touched me deeply. I feel I am a better person after reading this beautiful but sad book. I know I will be thinking about it for a long time.

I encourage you to read Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning by Michelle Scalise. If you've lost a loved one, Dragonfly will help you. If you have not lost a loved one, Dragonfly will show you sensitivity towards those who have lost a loved one. Which is a good thing. Either way, Dragonfly is not just a book...it is an experience.

You can buy the book HERE

michelle scalise

About Michelle Scalise

Since 1994 Michelle Scalise's poetry and fiction have appeared in such anthologies as UNSPEAKABLE HORROR, DARKER SIDE, DARK ARTS, THE HWA HORROR POETRY SHOWCASE:VOLUME I and II, DARK VOICES and such magazines as Cemetery Dance, Space And Time, Crimewave and Dark Discoveries. She has been nominated for the Rhysling Award, the Spectrum Award and the Elgin Award. Her books include THE MANUFACTURER OF SORROW, COLLECTIVE SUICIDE and  INTERVALS OF HORRIBLE SANITY. Lycan Valley Press just released her latest poetry collection, DRAGONFLY AND OTHER SONGS OF MOURNING. Michelle is the wife of bestselling author Tom Piccirilli.

About Jeani Rector

jeani rector

While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead.  She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters.  It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?

Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Dark River Press, Macabre Cadaver, Blood Moon Rising, Hellfire Crossroads, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, and others.