These prismatic lyrics—so solidly constructed, so thematically expansive—speak of, and for, the primal rituals and ribald taboos shared by insects, animals, human beings, and deities. "Komunyakaa's mournful surrealism seems to have found a perfect mathematical embodiment," observed The New Yorker. "[This book] comprises 132 poems of four four-line stanzas. These are poems about the uncontrollable human and natural mysteries, and they are made sharper and more mysterious by the eternal recurrence of the stanzaic structure. Komunyakaa's lexical and historical range is large, and his improvisations move effortlessly from Theocritus to Rimbaud, Chet Baker, and the Black Panthers."