Writing in a muted free verse that mixes description with liberal amounts of image and metaphor, Beth Copeland Vargo confines her subjects entirely to the personal and domestic. She excels in evoking emotional nuances. There are no greater griefs here than the chilly disintegration of a marriage, or the distance of a mother’s phone call; Vargo evokes memories of a contented childhood, shadowed at worst by a fear of the dark, and the equally placid growth of her own children. On the whole it’s a fine evocation of a prosperous existence, with some anxieties (constant writing about ice and snow), but no real anomie. The greatest failure is an untypical poem, "Nine Months in Benares", an account of a trip to India that can only express itself in images of conventional exoticism, conventional in its attitudes, inevitably remarking that "History moves slowly here: as a fly crawls/on the milky eye of a dead cow."