Howling at the Moon by Darshana Suresh

Reviewed by Bethany W. Pope

Darshana Suresh, the author of Howling at the Moon, is only nineteen years old, and writes about the tumult, the hormonal sturm und drang, which overwhelms and consumes all healthy teenagers. The difference between the poems in this collection and those found on Tumblr is that these are written with very promising skill. In ‘Birds on a Power Line’, the speaker engages in a conversation about the physical and emotional sensations which accompany romantic love:

How much can you tell me about love?
Enough to fill my breakfast bowl.
And what can you tell me about it?
Have you ever touched a jellyfsh?
Ever stepped on broken glass at the beach?
Does it hurt that much? No, no.
No, you misunderstand—
I only meant to say that it fills your
mouth with blood. So, it hurts.
A little, but I hurt more without it.
Oh? Tell me about the Not Love, then.
Must I? It makes my bones crack
and my marrow spill out—

Love hurts is a maxim of teenage angst. When the world is new and lust breaks over you, it hurts in a way that can be very good. There are some clumsy moments in this collection – a few foul phrases, a scattering of clichés – but not as many as you’d think. This is a very strong start.