Paperback Price: 15.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-938584-03-9

Selected Poem

Because we like the maps

we take the trips. The car is ready,
packed. The adventurer waits patiently.
We hug each other, count to 3.

I lift. It's got to be one uninterrupted
lift from wheelchair to feet.
But there's an instant,

midway, when the adventurer
hangs in my arms between rising
and falling—his chest tilts forward,

his butt juts back, his jeans
ride down, his shirt rides up,
his belly dangles in the gap—

it isn't dignified. And then we find
the click. It's like we're both holding on
and both letting go—hallelujah—he's

up. On his own two feet. Don't
marry him, some good friends said,
your life will be so circumscribed.
At the top of the lift, we've added a kiss.

We'd take the kiss without the lift, but that's
not possible. Maybe our kiss is a gentle

fuck you to anyone who's watching
who thinks our life is less than theirs.
Because we like the maps, we take the trips.


Orphan is well constructed—each section builds on the previous section, and the movement across the book is gentle and lilting. Hard-won wisdom pervades the book, which is all the more poignant because Heller Levi refuses to engage in self-congratulation. The poems never insist on having the only perspective on a concern. The result is remarkably graceful; quiet in the best sense of the word.”
The Philadelphia Review of Books

“. . .Orphan is a collection of strong poems, of honest emotion, and in spite of its title and the loneliness that’s present in many places, it is a collection that sings.”
New Pages

Previous Praise for Jan Heller Levi:

“…a poet whose humanity encompasses both our urge for completeness and our necessary dwelling in the work-in-progress of the world.”
—Mark Sullivan

“Jan Heller Levi’s work countervails the implications of this curmudgeonly koan with passional, self-critical intelligence. Ardent yet free of gush, the spontaneity and conversational ease of her poems assure that the quality of wonder, like that of mercy, is not strained.”
—Alice Fulton

“…it’s Levi’s humanity that ultimately won’t let you loose, words as direct as bullets, as kisses.”
—Bob Holman

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