No. I can’t make it down tonight.
Through the door you
Knock on my belligerence
Testing my lock without a key
“Please. Go down to greet our company.”
Delicately each holds paper napkins
Within which each hides
Their thin whispers of doubt.
“She’s better than expected.”
Suddenly everyone earns expert degrees
Doctorates of to each his own
Masters of there but for the
Grace of her go I.
Presenting cakes in white boxes
Secured with candy cane twine
Holding buttercream sugary sweet
Carefully crafted roses of pink.
I seriously consider meeting anyone
In an old baby blue chenille robe
Ragged and open,
My sash untied
I stand on the stairs waving goodbye.
The hours slipped out with my hair
From the knot in my head
Until finally the last clasp of
The door closes behind our pitied guests..
Don’t ask if I’d like a hug.
When did love become quid pro quo?
Kisses of dessert the price of a peach tart.
Clearing the table from the ruins of the night
Imagining Vesuvius and the
Bodies frozen in the flows of time.
Shoulders slump and I rock forward
Over my flattened chest.
Tired as a rag doll tied again and again
Stitched blue thread under my
Frilled little girl dress
Too short to cover this body
Underneath left a mess.
My torn head bowed in
Gratitude for advice:
Talk of cures and tinctures,
Beautiful fans of turkey tails cures
Sipping marshmallow teas
All my thankfulness
flows like champagne
Out of a magnum and into a glass
The shape of a queen’s breast.
I can still hear you slapping your thigh
Distant music about over-sold stories.
Hysterical scorn defers to look at me,
Your cheek down on my lap I stand up
Leaving your face on the old gold sofa
Its brocade brambles emboss your cheek.
I hate you in a moment.
My slippers slap the stairs
Punishing the floor boards
Just like a mother’s hand.
Upstairs the bedroom mirror stares back
I laugh along with her tight jaw —
My face looks uncooked and raw
Open the oven and turn on the gas
No not tonight I find a way
To stay and give this death a pass.