cover image You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior

You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior

Carolina Ebeid. Noemi, $15 trade paper (76p) ISBN 978-1-934819-58-6

Ebeid paints a landscape where ordinary objects possess a luminescent edge in her elusive and airy debut. This brightness works as a sleight-of-hand though, asking readers to focus on origami nautiluses and bee-hives made of glass while something dark lurks: “We live in a copy/ of Eden, a copy// that depends on violence.” Each poem is an act of emotional chiaroscuro, the harsh shadows finding balance with all the blinding light. “Lackofempathy could be a fern,” Ebeid writes in one poem, and in another a flower “resembles a person’s/ cut-off tongue clasped in the teeth of a pig.” Amid a veritable garden of botanical imagery, Ebeid often asks her readers to get between her lines, to ask themselves if the beauty with which they are presented is merely an artifice meant to distract from the cruel reality of a world where humans kill other humans via drone strikes. The beautiful language and images also contrast with the complicated family history Ebeid intersperses throughout. In one of the final poems, she makes her position clear: “I continue to believe that poetry contains revolutionary power.” Ebeid’s shocking metaphors and sharp imagination serve to remind her readers that there is a surprising amount of power that resides within us. (Sept.)