Around the table, they spoke
of their great accomplishments
and honors— A woman fished
a string of beads out of her jeans
pocket and pointed to each in turn,
naming the taverns and bars
where she’d stumbled onto the stage,
microphone or no, to read her verse.
One whispered there were at least half
a dozen moist narratives growing in his crotch
and armpits; he was merely their vessel,
obedient slave. Another combed and plaited
her muscular hair with a clutch of long dashes.
All night they ate platters of words
served out of season; all night they drank
of what was freely appropriated, wines
forced from fruit not certain of their vintage.
When they copulated and gave birth to offspring,
they were so moved by the originality of this
achievement that new industries were built
around their need to find footwear
or skins of leather equal to or greater in value
than their own flesh and blood. But there were others
who walked among them filling glasses, folding linen,
answering the summons of a buzzer laid in the floor
beneath the dining table, dusting the long-untuned
grand piano, the books unread in the library.
There were others who relished the dusk
and the solitude it delivered, the quiet
like a seed one is tempted take in the mouth
in order to stay elsewhere, underground.


In response to Via Negativa: Headless.

2 Replies to “Dumbwaiter”

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