April 10, 2012
Direct price: $13.50
Retail price: $16.95
5.75 x 9 with French flaps
At the age of twenty-nine, just five years after they met, John Rybicki’s wife, the poet Julie Moulds, was diagnosed with cancer. Here, in poems raw and graceful, authentic and wise, Rybicki pays homage to the brave love they shared during her sixteen-year battle and praises the caregivers—nurses and doctors and friends—who helped them throughout. He invites the reader to bear witness to not only the chemotherapy, the many remissions, and the bone marrow transplants, but also the adoption of the couple’s son, the lifted prayers, borrowed time, and lovers’ last touches. A husband smashes an ice-cream cone against his forehead to make his wife laugh. He awakes in the middle of the night to find their dog drowsing atop a pile of her remnant clothes.
The lamentations and celebrations of When All the World Is Old create a living testament to an endless love. Braided with intimate entries from Moulds’s journal, these poems become the unflinching and lyric autobiography of a man hurtling himself headlong into the fire and emerging, somehow, to offer us a portrait of light and grace.
Rybicki’s hymns rest in the knowledge that even though all of our love stories one day come to an end, we must honor the loving anyway. The poet has dipped his pen in despair, but as he cleaves his heart and our own, he transmits the exquisite pain of loss into a beauty so fierce and scalding and ultimately healing that the reader comes out whole on the other side.