Painting by Cindy Duhe
Another Reason I Don't Like Parties

When she enters a room it's all wrecking balls
and Chanel No. 5. I follow, the dumbest of all
geniuses, pockets protected but vulnerable still
to the crushing velvet of haute couture.

She holds court in the center of attention,
idly picking the scenery out of her teeth
with charm and grace. I fiercely defend my corner,
painted in by my post-modern mutterings on the coming
apocalypse and left growling at shadows
who turn disinterested shoulders to the debate.

She gives fashion tips to angels, leaning in
with a beatific smile to confer on the proper use
of gel to make wings appear their fullest.
I wear a tuxedo to bed
in case a dinner party breaks out,
and tie all my ties in a hangman's knot.

When we dance I'm orbiting the sun,
one foot in the flame, one in the frost.
I know the decay will eventually catch up to me
and I'll fall down slowly, like a quarter
left spinning and humming across a kitchen table,

but for now I just close my eyes and cling
like condensation dripping down an autumn window pane.

John Whitted


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