Mary Jo Bang masterfully draws an eerie calm in, "The Opening." The author said, "I wanted to suggest a small door one might open to look in and glimpse a shallow stage where a play continued ad infinitum." This hushed diorama of dysfunction reveals that all that is tucked in by the hum of the old time radio is not well. Girls thumb through books where the faces that have been cut out of the illustrations are their very own cartoon visages, and as for the bird in the cage, "He's nature, but he also seems nervous./Sing us a song, Pet, and he does. He sings of arson." The message is that art and the comforts of home may never protect us from our own neuroses and those that we create around us.
The Best American Poetry 2007