In a blend of narrative and lyric styles, this poetry collection interrogates family structures, specifically how memory functions to illuminate the relationships between the speaker and the dead. At the same time, these reflections display the speaker’s own flaws and limitations. Additionally, these poems question the nature of the connection between the speaker and his mother. Though the speaker lingers on her demise or transformation over time, he simultaneously implies how valuable that connection is. As the book concludes—in Bildungsroman fashion—the speaker moves away from family meditations to consider his own problems and other social issues in the wider world and how he is imbricated in them: intimacy, machinations of the state, labor, and education.