Tag Archives: Fence

Poetry Spotlight – Allison Carter

I was reading the Summer 2012 issue of Fence and came across a poem from a series entitled 35 Breakfast Poems. The poems utilize repetition and have multiple layers of narrative. They also manage to use commonplace words, but to still evoke mystery. I was hooked and wanted to know more about the writer.

The poet is Allison Carter, a fellow LA writer, and it’s great to come across another treasure in this great city for writers (yes I said it!). Below, check out the first poem from Allison’s collection or, if you are an editor, ask her for the rest of the manuscript to consider publishing it.

– Martin Ott

From 35 Breakfast Poems

                                                                                            My love and I wake up early.

                                                                                                   We have gone on a walk,

                                               gone to the store, seen the doctor, watered the plants

                                                         and we are now only sitting down to breakfast.

1. Breakfast in the Design Hall of Portraits

Breakfast in the design hall of portraits starts

at 9:00 in the morning.

Whoever knows must dress to go to a diorama daily,

she must shrink. Breakfast in the design hall

of portraits lasts all day.

My sister who keeps waking up

behind Plexiglass knows

about it, gets dressed

in tiny clothes, brings her camera

for breakfast in the design hall of portraits.


She knows where we all went,

how our time was spent idly– She tells us.

Outdoors, we can only assume

that grandmother peers underneath, East–

we close our eyes halfway to see

the hairline vein of the edge of the eye in half-light.

Breakfast in the design of portraits consoles my sister.


We stay there all day, all week.

Around the wooden table, my sister and me,

We get our own pair of antlers:

venison breakfast in the design hall of portraits.


Sometimes we stand on the heavy table to stretch

our hamstrings, bend sideways to stretch our ribs,

gaze past the stars past the roof to stretch

the neck that carries our brains that need

to stretch and stretch—


Breakfast in the design hall of portraits is my invitation only.


Can you please pass more coffee

to me?


(At 7:00 in the evening we light the lights.

Portrait photographs are devils, so handsome at night.)


Previously published in Fence.


 About the Author

Photo by Harold Abramowitz


Allison Carter is the author of A Fixed, Formal Arrangement (Les Figues Press) and Here Vs. Elsewhere (forthcoming from Insert Blanc Press) as well as several shorter collections, including Sum Total (Eohippus Labs), All Bodies Are The Same and Have The Same Reactions (Blanc Press) and Shadows Are Weather (Horse Less Press). Allison teaches creative writing to adolescents and adults suffering from Eating Disorders in Los Angeles, CA.

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