Rumpus Original Poetry: Two Poems by Carolina Ebeid





The Terrible Years

January wears two faces—
you will call one future, the other

history, both are elsewhere:
there is the elsewhere of photographs,

in which memory turns angular, deckle edged,
as here in the gold-film-light of Baghdad,

1976, my father, younger, ambitious, “political”
on his way to a meeting with Saddam,

or the elsewhere of an orchard growing quince,

the elsewhere of your birth event,
of your dying, its marble hours,

the nothing gentle elsewhere of dashcam footage,

the elsewhere in the street-view of the former lover’s
new address aglow in the palm,

the elsewhere of Peter Jennings’ voice reporting
from Baghdad, that Round City

of Baghdad with its mechanical birds & their wind-
powered notes from a tree made entirely of gold—

is another elsewhere, another history.

Put your ear to this window, like listening
into a chest, deep breath in, hold

All the horrible days arriving—listen—
the children stretch their spans

before tombstones practicing fame
pretending corpse-life

which autocorrects to copse life
an elsewhere where corpses begin to flower

For a decade my father shouted in his sleep—
words like darts nicking the velvet

dark around the ears, an elsewhere
took up its red residence in his head—

Throw open now a dream-
brain up on the screen, see how it dims

& shimmers—a city of quadrants &
zones—it thinks it is awake. The dream
autocorrected by daylight.


Night Became a Long Volta

a turn
of the
turn of

the head,
will last


the hill,
the devil,

lived, the
livid devil,
flesh & flash
of animal,

(un velo) bridal
shroud, a vail
(para velar)

burial shroud
to surveil,
grave place

glass for
this radix
& event

this trans
like looking

through molt-
en earth molten
orange, livid

& at last glass
entrance, come
back, come
back the way

you came––
no eye-wit-
ness to the

(del cielo,
mi lucero,
cómo has

caído) flesh,
watch me
bring about

this hidden
holy flash,
no eye-

(ya no hay
to wake,

to over-
take, to
make a


mi cielo,
al suelo)

Carolina Ebeid is a the author of You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior (Noemi Press). She is a student in the PhD program in creative writing at the University of Denver. She has won fellowships from CantoMundo, the Stadler Center for Poetry, and the NEA. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in, PEN America, jubilat, and American Poetry Review. Carolina is a Poetry Editor at The Rumpus. More from this author →