Bone Song is about scars, about how childhood leaves its mark on us forever. Some of those marks become silvery with time, more shadow than scar. Some remain livid. Others, like oysters building pearl around the irritation of sand, form layers of padding against future damage. 




Bunny Goodjohn's poems, as her title suggests, cut right to the bone. Singing of pain and sickness, of everyday cruelty and lost love, she traces the scars of childhood along an adult's memories, the recurring habits of marriage in separated spouses, and the links along the etymologies of our words. Snakes, tabby cats, and wonderful dogs wind their insouciant ways through these poems, as well, reminding us that the animal world leaves its mark upon us all or would if we would allow it and that the best lesson might be learned by studying a pet. This poet confesses what we all suffer—being “merely human”—and her poems seek a dog-like state for which we should all strive: the 'ability to be still / to set aside . . . machinations, to be quiet with beauty.

— Sarah Kennedy, The Gold Thread

B.A. Goodjohn is a very grown-up poet, one who has been around numerous blocks and taken careful notes. At turns harrowing, droll, rueful, and tart, these poems are ever insightful and possess great freedom even as they trace difficult confines. There is also much art: the poet slaps word after dexterous word down on the gaming table of what we grandly call life. These words (and forms) add up to a deftly compassionate consideration of people including the narrator done in by their circumstances or busy arranging new and probably skewed ones. Brave and shrewd, these are poems to return to.

 Baron Wormser, Impenitent Notes