For five days I bleed, and for five days I replace blood with blood. On day one, a large, medium rare steak suffices. On day two, I breakfast on mixed grill, a thick slab of ham, three rashers, and two plump, pork and leek sausages, as well as the usual mushrooms and grilled tomato—but in the afternoon I find myself strolling from town into country, where sheep graze and spring lambs gambol irresistibly. Oh, the farmers are right, there are eccentric vermin in these parts, but they cannot imagine any so feminine— and so ravenous.
In an alley, hundreds of flowers huddle in cloying decay, lilies, roses, larkspur, the refuse of an abandoned wedding or an overwrought funeral. The slopes of blackened green, crimson, pink, and barely perceptible blue suggest a human body, curled on its side, the would-be husband in his childhood bedroom or a grandmother in her last illness. When a teenage couple takes the alley for a shortcut, they quicken their steps and attribute their haste to darkness generally, its imminent depths.
Carrie Etter received her MFA in creative writing and PhD in English from the University of California, Irvine. Resident in England since 2001, she is an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her poems have recently appeared in Aufgabe, The Liberal, Salamander, Stand, and The Times Literary Supplement.