Jeremy Jusek Reviews Black Aperture

Matt Rasmussen spent more than a decade crafting the heartbreaking poetry collection Black Aperture, a book that is haunted by his brother’s suicide. Rasmussen is unflinching and brutal regarding his brother’s death, forgoing magic in favor of precise, poignant imagery. Pivoting around the events of that fatal day, the poems analyze the event from multiple perspectives. It’s the elements of these perspectives, not grief contemplation, that Rasmussen chooses to focus his efforts on—with frank honesty and an almost scientific detachment.

Nature saturates Rasmussen’s work. Leaves and fields are typical in his work, shrouding the reader in a cocoon of Darwinist fibers. Readers will find fields to represent permanent fixtures of Mother Nature, while leaves symbolize just how temporary our existence is on Earth.

In the poem “In Whoever’s Hotel Room This Is In,” the field represents his inability, but desire, to connect with God. In “Seed”, a field serves as the grave site for a hunted deer, framing man-made death as a part of the natural order. In “The Orange Leaves”, a field catches on fire, hungrily consuming the leaves but leaving the bones of a deer behind. This poem was particularly intense, reminding me of my own personal tragedies, and the memories left in their smoldering wake.

Rasmussen uses leaves to represent our mortality again and again. “Reverse Suicide” is a poem that recalls his brother’s death backward, from the horrid details surrounding the gunshot back to raking leaves in their backyard. Every reader has encountered moments of their lives they desperately wish they could return to and change, and Rasumussen captures this feeling beautifully:


You spit [the bullet] into Dad’s gun


before arriving in the driveway

while the evening brightens


and we pour bag after bag

of leaves on the lawn,


waiting for them to leap

onto the bare branches.

Readers will find emotional release locked and loaded in Black Aperture, just waiting for the trigger to be pulled. This collection is intense and incredibly introspective. It will require you to revisit your own painful experiences. And after you set this book back on your shelf, you’ll ask yourself: which of these memories deserve to be preserved?[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Jeremy Jusek is an internet content writer living in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two kids. He is an animal lover, 5k runner, coffee drinker, and horror enthusiast. He is about to complete his MFA from the University of Arcadia in poetry. To learn about his publications and other going-ons, feel free to stalk him at and @jeremyjusek.[/author_info] [/author]