Tony Hoagland – Hostess

Hostess

 

All I remember from that party

is the little black dress of our hostess

held up by nothing more

than a shoestring of raw silk

 

which kept slipping off her shoulder

– So the whole time she was talking to you

about real estate or vinagrette,

 

you would watch it gradually

slide down her creamy arm

until the very last moment

when she shrugged it back in place again.

 

Oh the business of that dress

was non-specific and unspeakable,

and it troubled all of us

 

like the boundary of a disputed territory

or the edge of a borderline personality.

It was like a story you wanted to see

brought to a conclusion, but

 

it was also like a story stuck

in the middle of itself, as it kept on

almost happening, but not,

then almost happening again –

 

It took all night for me to understand

that the dress was designed to fail like that;

the hostess was designed to keep it up,

as we were designed to chew

 

the small rectangles of food

they serve at such affairs, and to salivate

while the night moved us around in its mouth.

©2008-2012 ~Cybotics

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