Elise Paschen’s first book of poems, Infidelities, is an erratic collection of studies of the title subject. The works that celebrate lust, like “Taxi” (“Why don’t we cruise/Times Square at noon/enjoy the jam/I’m not immune/to your deft charm/in one stalled car/I’d like to take/you as you are”), feel emotionally emptier than the pieces that delve into the pain caused by a roving heart. In “My Father’s Cross,” a child accidentally locks out her father who has been out late carousing, and “12 East Scott Street,” is a tense description of a marital reconciliation: “Home is my mother finding inside/her drawer a snapshot of a blond/posing naked against beach boulders./My mother covers with her thumbs/the bottom half of the snapshot,/evenly asks, ‘Is this Nicole?’/I hold my breath and wonder whether/to answer yes. My mother takes the photograph between her thumb/and forefinger, quarters the picture,/quartering and quartering/the bits into the wastepaper basket.” Paschen reads at 7 p.m. at Chapters, 1512 K St. NW. FREE. (202) 347-5495. (Christopher Porter)

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