Tag Archives: Sarah Rose Etter

Best Thing I’ve Read Today: The Spine by Sarah Rose Etter

25 Mar

The Body Maps series up at The Fanzine is a new feature and for the first installment Sarah Rose Etter of Philadelphia set the bar sky high with her piece, “The Spine.” Here a few excerpts:

Everything inside of you is a curtain. Everything can be slid and tied to reveal more. You are a canyon of organs, bones, fat deposits, possible tumors, breast tissue, ligaments, white and red viscera, and then, finally, beneath all of that, the spine, which is your main river only very still, very hard, made of bone.

The night before it happens, you are swimming in painkillers in patches sucking at your skin to deliver relief, fog. The night before the Russian man splits you open, you picture him inside of you, his hands deft, sliding small, clear fragments from your flesh, your body just a skin bag of shattered glass.

You can describe, at length, the pattern the stitches made up your spine. You can go on about the way your head became a permanent moon over the toilet, the contents of your stomach shooting like white rays through black night into the clear sea below.


It’s a twisted narrative form with sharp, heavy  language and there is not one line that lets the reader off the hook. We can only hope that the rest of the series will be this good.

SSM: “Men Glass” by Sarah Rose Etter

7 May

I remember reading this short story by Sarah Rose Etter in the March issue of The Collagist, the strangeness of it, its uncomforting. Etter strings words together in a way that makes you forget yourself, the same way she strings the names of the captive men together until they’ve forgotten themselves, until they and you have stopped pawing at the Plexiglass, a way in or a way out.

The unraveling of the men went something like this each time slight variations:

Nice to meet you. My name is Tim Brad Tom Sean Mike.

And what do you do?

I’m a professor butcher lawyer guitar player construction worker.

Would you care to buy me a drink?

That’s all it took, eye contact for that long. She hated this part hated the Jessica bits but thought about the end – their eyes behind the glass their movements hushed. She thought about love.

How many drinks does it take? By the fourth she can lean over like a lady put a hand on a male thigh whisper Come home with me say it very pronounced like there was a period behind each word making each word matter very much.

Then it was grins thousand-watters billboard faces cheekbone fireworks.

Read the whole story at The Collagist.