Dinner Party

Jessica Abughattas

         after June Jordan

I want something to happen but

I just don’t know what — with a head

full of smoke, nothing fills me up.

Pears, persimmons, ice, lust

lust — Maybe I need

a woman, a motherless dandelion

to rub emptiness with me.

In the perpetual dinner party of my brain

the guests are tired. They want to go home.

I’m hooking them at the door with my remembers

flirting with the hostages

at my all-hours discothèque:

One fingering sheet

music with her born again

virgin bible study. One kneeling

before a toilet in a bathroom full of SSRIs. One kissing

her dying father and one ignoring his call.

One spread out and reading Nietzsche

amid styrofoam takeout containers. One licking

a mushroom with Dan or Ben or Tom. One arching

on the Persian carpet. One tattooing a kite to her ribs.

One sliding a fishnetted knee between another’s

stockinged legs. Us girls, sad and high.

We never know who is big or bad or wolf

until he has loved or left or made a meal out of us.

I am tired of being devoured.

I make a model of my sorrow, and kiss her.

I’ve been waiting on my misery like a man who won’t come.

I used to live on crumbs

but I too am a wants-to-be-touched thing

that wakes late at night

late at night in the house where no one keeps me.


about the author