E.A. Hilbert's work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in American Writing, The Boston Review, LIT, Pleiades, The American Scholar, Fence, and the William and Mary Review. The poetry editor for Random House's online literary magazine Bold Type, he lives in New York City.


Digitalis, digitoxin and digoxin, foxglove—
Without light to remain it is forceless and corrosive—

Black reports directly to dimension and octave—
Little one, the darkness is all around us.

I Can’t Sleep Without Pills and It’s Cold

I caught pure clatter of bone, glassed-off skeleton,
Strove to rush crosswise overnight,
Found myself nailed hard to a starbelt,

Until all left of my ice was air.
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This is a function of seeing
Accused without antecedent

Cherish not comfort but light
Something unfolds skies deeply

In a grotesque funnel
Or is it a cage

The swimmer still breathes
Broken when the faint star turned sideways

The experiment continues
Ash is stuck down on crystal

A milky lava laid across the sea
And still you don’t comprehend the contortions

Watch the canticle turn to counterfeit
Coins in fixed rows

Resembling accidents too broadly
Massed to behold

The script-writer drew two limiting points
Postulated starving dancers in a silent stadium

This unmapped terra firma resembles
A medieval system of vapors and scars

This is unstoppable
What tapers downward and hurts so much

What blanked edition has been passed
Along a frozen white rail

What outcome transmits boundaries even
As it matches incipient organisms against sunspots

What is not injured after this hardest of falls
What is free from staircases

Scattering its orange blockade
An ornamental obstruction in the process

Of shifting downward
Glimpse into a lenspiece

The architect will be ascertained beneath a peeling stile
They are not monstrosities and

Are content with serenades and menstrual floods
The walls are wetted with seething granite

Fissures grow out in the lustrous
Vicinity of your childhood

In time glaciers will align to every point of the compass
And leave perforations rather

Than words to guide the eye and the heart
Your poems will be taken from you

In the same diurnal curling that grieves me as well
All of your entanglements will slow to a horrifying finale

A pure signal is made known in a broken sieve
Flint and egg-shells blow up in the dawn like feathers

The flexure is sightless
Naked and dripping in the greasy spray

They witness the fleets
As they tow their dull grey tonnage

In from the horizon
You are not immune

In Seed Time

Glint of cracked black and seething streams
Killing a figure that followed us for centuries

Images fracture in acrid lather over the highlands
What arrives commences and demands

Summer swings its hot flashlight over
The wrecks of seas timed and freed