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Carrie Etter



The dark red velveteen couch—its back curving up, down, up, down in gentle slopes like a sagging heart—is disastrously out of place. It did not begin as desire. Who in a small town knows the practicalities of flight? Those who escaped here have long forgotten their methods. I’m not limiting an overstuffed valentine of a couch or yearning to a single location. A crop’s yield is its harvest. What soil would you call this?

The Letter

with a nod to Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda

This is the glass church, this the impermeable submarine. As usual, a matter of perspective. I could kneel and drown.

And what of this letter, with its beckoning script and small kindnesses? If I could bear to roll it into a taper, dip it into the fire, and carry the flame to light tobacco, I’d be another woman: one whose prayer leaves her lips with no threat of flood.


Because I am not making that noise
Because rain makes for rust
Because the mountains have it

This body, these accidental breasts
Are not wholly
Do not give rise to

(Would that I were
How do you correlate seclusion with
Reckon me into—)

Scar and pucker
Aloft and receding

Copyright © Carrie Etter, 2010