An Interpretation of Dreams


Where have I gone from:

                 Room of rot.

      Dim, waterlogged celluloid.

            Salted brine-dark room,

                  somewhere close to sea.

      Unwindowed room.

            Room far by crow-call from

                  my land-locked father.


How to say I want to return

            from where I never knew

                  I was—     Girl sewn

      to the window’s seam;        Girl hemmed

                  to the keyhole’s hollow: Is this

      coming through in the transmission?

                  My end is static: slush

                  and snow from the telephone

            line creeping like thistle in the yard.

                        Slush and static, the image

            warping in the dark

                  nest of my thorny sleep.


Somewhere in the deep of me

            I’ve buried the lock to the cellar,

                  the soot-singed engine-room

            of memory’s looming furnace.        Somewhere

      behind the thrumming lick of the mirror’s blank surface

                  the girl playing dead

            has pinched her lips white,

            has swallowed a key.

Elisa Karbin is the author of the forthcoming chapbook, Snare, and her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, West Branch, Notre Dame Review and Blackbird, amongst others. She is a PhD candidate in poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she also teaches. Visit her online at