Silence in the belly of the breathing house. Night so deep / it’s reaching through rooms as if searching its pockets.<br><br>Standing in the midst of her childhood home, Margo Wheaton was struck by two things: the extent of the damage caused by her father’s and stepmother’s alcoholism and the life force that pulsed in the once-vibrant rooms and yard – in the abandoned trees, neglected flowerbeds, and gardens her parents had planted and tended for decades.<br><br>Radiant, grieving, and intensely musical, <i>Rags of Night in Our Mouths</i> is an exploration of human and environmental states of precarity and vulnerability. In the opening suite, Wheaton draws upon her family’s deep roots in the Tantramar Marsh area and constructs a hallucinatory world of fragility, chaos, and searing natural beauty as she writes her own version of Maritime gothic. Employing a variation of the ghazal, a historically Persian form popularized in Canada by the late New Brunswick–based poet John Thompson, she surveys the ruins of her working-class childhood home, a thriving place now ravaged by generational alcoholism and despair. Directed at first toward an absent beloved – a convention of the ghazal tradition – the focus moves in the second suite to the teeming, non-human world of an endangered saltmarsh on a wild shore of the Northumberland Strait bordering Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. In the book’s closing suite, Wheaton honours a landscape slated to be destroyed and pays homage to “the broken-hearted, the bereaved” who walk the ragged shoreline, struggling to make sense of losses and death.<br><br>Meditative and beautifully crafted, <i>Rags of Night in Our Mouths</i> calls us to engage passionately with our suffering world.