The Day After Your
Today Callas sings for you alone.
Today palm fronds neglect their inevitable gesture of reproach.
Today the charred toast has no special taste.
Today the sun on the sea does not singe your eyes.
Today the tumult of your survivors does not reach you.
Today every crowd is the cubist clear panes of a diamond.
Today no city no city.
Today the loss of I is not mourned (not reckoned).
there are no dice for you to hurl.
Thursday at the Tut `n' Shive, Islington
The pub's dirty floorboards do not recommend lust.
Will you try the beef casserole? Have a Stella.
Only minutes of daylight left; soon the passersby
become anonymous, virginal. The floorboards suggest
you stay standing. Try the pub quiz Saturday night
for a prize of six pints. I'll be your partner
I've won before. The floorboards recommend the mauve
carpet at your flatI just guessed it was mauve.
Mauve says lie down. The body stretches out like a meadow.
The blackish floorboards recommend you leave
Eighteen-Year-Old Girl Singing in Her Head
Suckle me slow, my quicksand love.
All the way down the air pockets pucker and pop: kiss! kiss! kiss!
Bubble over my skin, jacuzzi love, wrinkle me supple.
All the way down and I'm still sinking.
All the way up to my lower lip but I'm too warm to scream.
Song from the Psych Ward
Here's a razor blade. Here's a lyre.
When the crescendo drew blood, I saw
gargoyles perch in the branches of jacarandas,
and angels, all women robed in light, hover in the sky.
Here's a jonquil. Here's a jackknife.
Etter is doctoral candidate in English at the University
of California, Irvine, where she received her MFA in 1997. Her poems have
recently appeared in Seneca Review, Meridian, Salamander,
and Nedge, and are forthcoming in Slope