Carrie Etter moved from southern California to London in August 2001. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Meridian, Poetry Review, Seneca Review, Thumbscrew and elsewhere, and in 1998 Potes & Potes published her chapbook, Subterfuge for the Unrequitable.

The Missing Roses

Stark, the leafless, spindly trees against the horizon someone came along,
          clipped the new blooms
yet glamorous, while one robin,
most legible bird, recasts the periphery around him.

Who thinks they can hoard? Is she only angry if she manifests it, bites
          her carrot with an unseemly malevolence or rends that night’s blouse
into two, four, eight? I’ll say it again: glamorous over the indistinguishable

weeds only a few shades darker than milk. The January sun ascends only
          so high, and that far she won’t follow it. If I put winter and
glamorous on the same line, the rebuke will be “maybe in California,”

roses a red becoming purple next to my door and I’ll shrug toward
          the sun’s last glance, the sky a pink too dim to call pastel,
too light, too welcome for tenebrous as though with the right apparatus

butterfly net, haversack—. Downwind on the plaza, she perches on a folding chair
          for the next measure of Prokofiev imagine it: hedge clippers cut
the music from the air, the music drops into a common handbag, and zip!

with one eyebrow raised.


blithe to trespass gingerly gingerly
adroit at the cusp                              liquor’s reelsome push
                    into the shining mire
                                                            (that desire)
                    generality as possibility, unmarked, unspoken
                    immanent yet hovering as an ache
cold amaretto around and around the tongue
                    tonguing the unspoken
                                        ineffable = impatience (knee to knee)
(better: knee to thigh)
                    fasten seat belt while standing
                                        for the yielding, agonized and thrilled
                                        for Icarus

                                        over my tongue.

Divining for Starters (7),

From regret as a matter of shame of the instance and pride in the general feeling. There we stake our corrigibility, a viable hope.

The instance proves problematic. Garish details at once vivify regret and narrow it to the peril of generalization.

The general feeling brings its malaise, a self-pity. But we do not aspire to the confessional, as the insistence on plurality has already indicated.

We could regret that the we is not of itself egalitarian. We must have margins to elide. But what begins in its own incapability without espousing another beginning that at least hints what ability will now be wielded?

We begin in regret to prepare for the remedy. Still I would find the fallow field and not ask from what crop it was spared.

To begin I erase. So histories are written. So regret mounts, and we pretend to begin.