Elisa Karbin


Under a glass cloche I grow this experiment
in forgetting, sow samplings of sleeplessness,
of broken plates and phantom limbs sprung
out of the body’s rejection of loss. Each scion
is a failed closure, cramped tight in its cycle
of reaching without getting.       Before,
seasons were like feral children, licked by cyclones,
dead languages moving in elliptical waves;
first, the green chattering soft through
thickets until the tilt, the humming dark argot
of the sea under frost—every temper gauged
by motif.          That was before we began
collection and catalogue. This control, clean
under glass. What grows in this vacuum is
observable, small. I chart the stillness and swelter,
count the beads that transpire and cling, make brilliant
my face in a thousand portraits, all mouthing
      forgive, forgive, forgive.

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.