The Outer Wards, Sadiqa de Meijer’s new collection, explores questions of maternal love and duty—and the powerlessness that comes with the disruption of that role through illness. “I was awake. / The hour was wrong,” de Meijer writes, and her poems track, in visceral and tender detail, the distraction, exhaustion, exhilaration, and fear of child-rearing through crisis. For de Meijer, the experience was also a crisis of language, and the struggle to find new terms for her state. Addressed, in part, to a child she calls “my grievous spectacle, / my dearest unpossessable,” The Outer Wards is everywhere marked by a joy in words—their quick-fire turns, sumptuous sounds, and nursery-rhyme seductions.