Revision in Studio


This morning, light fell onto my page

same as it did in the room I was once

pinned to.        Identical, the slant and slice

of gold, the smell of spring’s breath,

musk of a foreign body’s lope and lurk.

I am pinioned beneath the weight of him

still—I think it will be a thousand

more sleeplessnesses before I can creep

my way out from under his heft, the hands

clasping the red of my lips, sealing the damp

tinge of my tongue.          Pelvis bored

to mine I am always straddled supine,

wrestled over until, like falling, I am weightless,

a reed-boned bird; a blind and diving bird.

     Most days I can make the bed

a raft, him a trailing sinker around my neck.

It’s the opening eye that is the problem—

the unfurling of the moment that seizes me

by the throat and shakes.        This morning

the poem on the page was a love poem to my

skin. No—an ode to how I bit and clawed, or

an elegy to my guilty body, breaking in waves,

a new crack for every year; a eulogy.

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