Stride Magazine - www.stridemagazine.co.uk

 

THE DINNER PARTY

Two bottles of
Shiraz and one promise to keep-
One lithe new attraction and one simmering familiar-
The Spaniard could not ascertain my ancestry, place darkest eyes,
And I thanked him for the compliment of singularity
Valuable in any capital.

Seasoned lamb and hummus and olives
And other Turkish tastes for which I lack names-
The morning after a dinner party I try to retrieve
Exact words exchanged, clever or flattering,
And in the main, somehow fortunately, I fail.

Afternoon, my husband's hand in mine,
I recall the erotics of wit and personal history,
The life of lives heightened to palpability-
Admired and admiring was always a needed night,
Granting today's ease, awake and interested.





GRAIN BY GRAIN

The Destroying Angel, as you
so grimly call it, resembles
Lucifer less than a squirrel,
pilfering our time by minutes

and so garnishing our wages
by the two-penny. Loitering
because we can or another
twenty reasons, hours dissolve in

the dull but luxurious pause
of self. Once we spoke of such time
as our self-preservation or
poetry, yet now I feel that

telling need to apologize
and wonder to what or to whom;
now I observe the steady climb
of the old teacup's threading crack.





THE FAMILY, AUTUMN

The land quickened with light,
color suffused our sight,
a breeze infused motion,
and the world was never more visible.

Children played in foreground,
the far-off hills bore trees,
laughter chimed before us,
and murmuring quiet rode through the glen.

Grief neared at a cloud's pace,
the children dropped their hands,
the tall poplars rustled,
and pasture teemed in seven hues of green.

My sister walked ahead,
a tear coursed down her face,
a warm wind grazed our napes,
and I saw I, though I did not dare look.





GALE-FORCE, LONDON

Gale-force lifts and drops the meter box's metal lid
Makes for the smacking of the house
Do you too cringe in the supermarket, when a parent raises
I can barely watch an embarrassing moment on TV any more

Gale-force reminds me England's an island
And I have failed, failed half-passively
Will you dismiss these apologetic criteria
Sounds like a man outside, striking the front window

Gale-force on an island spells (as they say) floods and floods
Means scurry and only so independent
Do you call that hardly unique to the situation
I say it depends on the choice between article and possessive adjective

Neither surrender nor confidence nor
I've said cringe, and you won't take it back



Carrie Etter 2002