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Carrie Etter

Three poems

You can read Carrie Etter’s review of Method, by Mark Salerno,
in this issue of Jacket.

Red Acre

Whole days we wafted through the red light.
In another age I would have said, Not really tubercular.
What does a poetry collection collect?
Those days piqued us as we unmade regret.
The buzzing cut of jet propellers, and rain
coursing in horizontal lines across the window.
Despite the wearied body, despite recurring
illness without hypochondria’s reassurances.
You had something to say, over and over again.
The body as medium and restraint—a poem of sorts.
Liquid days confer (an illusory) wholeness: we were
in doing. Red poppies for acres.

Midnight, Illinois

What dirge from the ripe corn,
the dog with the easy gait?
The barn has no
windows to break.

Each tooth of the tractor
taller than a hand.
A ground squirrel stopped in a sound—
voice or car or bark—
is of comparable height. Each tooth

a blade in the dirt hay seed.
How to carve toward birth: that dirge.
Shines the stars.

Infidel’s Prayer

Shear the hedges of jasmine to planes and right angles.
Pull here the tenacious elastic of sense.
Once again there are snails at my heels.
What longing will satisfaction torque?

Shake the crimson tapestries over the water.
Pull the rose bush out by its thorns.
Coyotes shriek within fifty yards of my door.
What longing will satisfaction torque?

Shred the dirge to rub it into the skin.
Pull on the first wet light.
Mallards trust my winding bread trail,
and I hold back my hands from their bite.

Jacket 22 — May 2003  Contents page
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