Carol Quinn

Impossible Bottle

Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
The Sonnet Issue

Impossible Bottle

after Doris Taylor

The code team called it at 3:43
and washed their hands, but she’s not giving up

just yet. In the lab, she gently scrubs
the post-impulsive matter down to scree

until she’s left with just a protein frame:
a perfect replica and obsolescence—

or opalescence other cells will sense
as something ceded and reseed to stem

the loss. Tissue grows inside the flask.
A frigate’s rigged within its bottle.

It thirsts for ocean. It carries its epistle.
There’s no wind in the flame-blown husk

above a memory trace. But the heart reverts
as if what’s lost can be replaced. It starts to pulse.


Carol Quinn's poetry has appeared in 32 Poems, The Cincinnati Review, Pleiades, River Styx, Colorado Review, and Gargoyle, as well as the anthologies Women Write Resistance and Hot Sonnets. She has published essays and reviews in The Emily Dickinson Journal, The American Book Review, Pleiades, and Voltage. Acetylene, Quinn's first book of poems, won the Cider Press Review Book Award, and was published in 2010. She holds degrees from the University of Houston, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and the University of Southern California, and teaches in the English Department at Towson University in Maryland.