How To Build A Better Mousetrap
by Abbie Johnson Taylor

"She drove into a mound
of freshly poured concrete surrounded by orange cones
The blind aren't the only ones who blunder."

How does one encapsulate a life? Some people keep diaries of almost every experience, trusting that how much one paid for coffee on Tuesday will seem important twenty years down the road. Others work on their memoirs, hoping that the highlights of their experiences will offer their descendants a balanced portrait of who they once were. Yet some, like the author, choose to capture the quiet moments of life in a few simple lines of poetry.

Taylor's slim volume of poems is a series of verbal snapshots that give readers a window-seat view into her world as a wife, daughter, and young woman. Divided into three sections which roughly correspond to significant periods in her life, the book begins with her present role as a visually impaired caregiver for her disabled husband, Bill. Filled with love, fears, and longing, the poems in this section offer a poignant picture of unswerving devotion and determined optimism. The second series of poems tosses the reader back into childhood memories as Taylor's lines chronicle seemingly minor events such as a car ride or a family vacation that somehow come across as defining moments. The last section gives readers brief glimpses from the author's fifteen years of working as a registered music therapist in a nursing home before her marriage.

Taylor's greatest strength as a poet is in her innate ability to take an ordinary moment and make it matter to the reader. Reminiscent of the sparser poetry of Rod McKuen in its honesty, Taylor's poems distill the joys, struggles, and reflections of a lifetime into a small yet satisfying volume.

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