[poetry month] "Waiting Room" by Carolina Ebeid


You can’t carry around on your back the corpse
of your father
— Apollinaire

The sun is hoisted already. A flag. An awful bell.
Then the blue form asks me to assemble my medical family tree.

There are diseases whose syllables
on the tongue sit tart & dulcet
as a slice of pear chilled by the morning.

Then all the prescriptive grammarians wake up, one after
another, mimicking sidewalk birds dashing to safer heights.

Reader, can we have a meaningful exchange without
you knowing how I assemble heaven? The air’s
poignant with male peacocks. The air’s stony

& clean as altitudes above which no trees will grow.
All my father’s sadnesses begin to stomp & huff

as a line of bridled Central Park horses.
He brushes them. He feeds them seaweed.
It’s good for the teeth & the heart.

I have my father’s hair, which was once a lion’s-hide-
vermillion. You can’t carry around the corpse of a lion.

Looking at slides of a CT scan,
you may hold an idea of the body
as a junky steel contraption that can

be fixed. A figment of propellers here & at the center
an heirloom engine, oiled & intricate.

— Carolina Ebeid, from You Ask Me To Talk About The Interior, Noemi Press, 2016.