In this edgy, energetic, even frenetic debut from a rising star of the Midwest, Lemon's jagged, commanding voice both charms and shocks: “Voice, be amazing/ circling the river bottom,” his leadoff poem instructs. The first section (of four) stuns with accessible yet intense language, and also with the events it appears to describe: brain surgery and the poet's slow recovery from it. “Tomorrow my head opens,” he says; “If I am still/ here, someone let me know what I am.” Subsequent poems steer clear of medical topics in favor of sparkling, slightly diffuse cascades of images: “It is the year of the dismembered horse/ Bury me with bones instead of eyes.” Crackling extremes court melodrama knowingly, challenging readers to say when enough is enough. Lemon's rawness and intelligence have a fine, in-your-face excess. Physical violence—“chipped-teeth,” “kicked-heart,/ dried blood”—recurs as experience and symbol, as do a series of crime novel and film noir backdrops: “always, I’m decapitated,” Lemon claims, “& feel as though someone is tracing/ The zippers of my self-inflicted bites.” Above all, these poems make strong impressions, using their verbal surprises as confrontational flirtations, or else tiny explosives.