Carolina Ebeid’s debut collection You Ask Me to Talk about the Interior lifts up sorrow and turns it—gently, gorgeously, unceasingly—before the light of her gaze. Paradoxical and true to life, these poems sprawl to encompass more distance the deeper inward they retreat. The interior, for Ebeid’s speaker, appears to be everything—drowned dogs, Paul Celan, autism—that swirls around and among herself and those she holds dear. “Echolalia sounds more like a concert flute,” Ebeid writes in her long, sectioned poem “Veronicas of a Matador.” “Lackofempathy could be a fern.” I am astounded by the tension Ebeid is able to maintain between inside and outside; her language is simultaneously one with the world and far, far from it.
“Small Hall of Symphony”
I have been building a sizable sympathy.
Inside sits a sackcloth puppet
packed with sawdust. She teeters & jerks,
slumps & plays dead in a rising ovation.
When a famous dancer dies early,
the ballet goes up as programmed
on the night she would have performed—
except, a spotlight will loop about the bare stage.
Let us adore these angelic tricks. The way
a telephone receiver fills with a human
voice, & a siren, fading through the Doppler
effect, describes an idea of us to us.
Three decades now & my sympathy
grows enormous. Wooden & majestic
like the main auditorium in this minor city.
Posted by Gabrielle Bates