Feast of Burden


No. I can’t make it down tonight.

Through the door you

Knock on my belligerence

Testing my lock without a key

Imploring you:

“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.

2 comments on “Feast of Burden”

  1. Your images are all so vivid. Being social is so hard. I have done little of it over the past year or so, but I think a good line I’ll keep tucked away is a decisive “Let’s change the subject” when I tire of myself or treatment as a general topic of conversation.

    1. No need to discuss what we don’t need to be reminded of or what people may not truly want to really know. Keeping the conversation out of that place I’ve found sort of relieves people. “It’s going well thanks” and a quick dance into another song not so overplayed in my mind anyways always seems to work.

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