Silueta of Crushed Lipstick and Mum Petals

I heard you in the garden

& I was afraid I was naked so I hid.


I was naked because  I was afraid

—I said to myself.


Vox gone hidden in the imbecile garden.

In the traffic I hid me.


Fear smells mineral, petroleum, sumac, rain-lustered.

I drink the drams from its awe-silver limbs.


I heard your voice purpling like bellies of Peruvian

blues at various depths in soil. Away-from.


Artificial lights, they leave the leafy

night looking icy in unfinished colors.


I heard you say magenta:

three syllables swarming out the voice box.


Swarm brings back no mauvish/cyan/crimson

to your sightline but some tv snow.


A needle dragging skin-dust long the vinyl

grooves. Music acquires you in iotas.


As static I heard you whirling around the vinyl-

dark round & round—


Adrenaline alters the hide, hair.

I was afraid of the paradise in my ear.


Copyright © 2021 by Carolina Ebeid. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 17, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

These stanzas play with the verse from Genesis, I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked so I hid. So much happens in that sentence: the spectacle of the garden, of fear, of what it feels like to be naked. What most interests me is the drama of hearing, and that of hiding. The title of my poem refers to an attendant video I made using stop-motion animation of an Ana Mendieta-like silueta. I drew the figure with a dried out Hi Wildflower lipstick, and the quill petals of grocery store chrysanthemums. At the root, this poem is for Lucie Brock-Broido, who was one of my first teachers.”
—Carolina Ebeid