Elisa Karbin

Plague Doctor

Doctor, we call for you because a magpie
flying before us on the way to a touch beats

black against the cross-marked door, because
our throats pulse full, plush pink. Our eyes glaze

cathedral-bright and we’ve already set our fevers
over the fire to boil out what demon has beset us.

Bisect us. Cut out the thing that ails, the shining
shadows that slip our thighs, or boils that break

livid. Sweep into us, cloak-dark. Enter our bones
with your hook-mask, sweet like ambergris, balm-mint

and sharp, over each incision. Then peck out the offal.
Then leave it for the raven, winging over the house,

whistling like an omen cast over every roof.

Elisa Karbin’s poems have appeared in The Lily Lit Review, Poetry Daily and The Hawaii Review, among others. She earned her MA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is pursuing her PhD in poetry. She is the web editor at cream city review and a contributing editor for The Great Lakes Review.