Etiquette Dinner

Please take one, says your host, 
passing the basket of rolls. Before
you take it, you're supposed to unfold
your cloth napkin then fold it once more
across your lap so it resembles
a triangle, though the rectangle is
also a common and acceptable shape.
Water to your right, salad fork to
your left. All the hierarchies of silver-
and glassware, every item in its proper
place. And you're to tear off small
pieces of bread to butter sparingly—
though you prefer the ease of Lazy
Susans and all the dishes, family
style, ranged on its perimeter: one spin
to the hot pot, a quarter turn to three
pepper shrimp and crab legs, things
you need to pick up with your hands.
Don't you love the taste and smell
of sauce that lingers on your fingers,
even when all the dishes are taken away?
Only the prim little cups of tea remain,
and the crimped and folded cookies
waiting to give you your fortune.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.