rural Kentucky, 1945    a fishing shack    as one-room house    one narrow bed, one white
oak basket   two Bernadines   in the sounds of the river   dee dee dee chickadee  mallards,
whooping cranes            beaver scratch and squeal            in the shack, barely the sound of
breath               mother and infant               the bed, the basket               since the revelation
staggered     sundered    the mother prostrate on the rickety     how long how long    while
the baby    baby melding into basket    tender skull flattening    small legs gone stiff    how
long how long         find them, Great Uncle Paul, find them          lift my mother over your
head        teach her how to kick

Originally from Normal, Illinois, Carrie Etter has lived in England since 2001 and is a member of the creative writing faculty at the University of Bristol. Her poems appear in Boston Review, the Iowa Review, the New Republic, the New Statesman, The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, and the Times Literary Supplement, and her fifth collection, Grief’s Alphabet, will be published in April 2024. She has received grants from the Society of Authors and Arts Council England and also publishes short stories, essays, and reviews.