Monday, May 10, 2010

13TH GUEST AT A DINNER PARTY FOR 12

13TH GUEST AT A DINNER PARTY FOR 12


The table was set.

The cutlery gleam adamantine 
on a field of snow white linen. 
She thought, pearls tonight
with the black dress. 
She practiced a dramatic pose 
to stand by the chair 
at the head of the table 
where her husband would sit 
taking his rightful place. 
The guest list was carefully vetted, 
they had grand plans. 
She gazed out the window, 
the horse in the paddock,
a big bay dressage hunter
felt her presence, intently watched 
through the French doors. 
His ears pricked forward, as if on alert. 
She knew he couldn't see her
but he was ever hopeful for carrots 
or for her touch—not like that man who… 
Better not to dwell upon it, she thought. 
They were strangers in a strange land. 
The seething California hills of oak 
and blonde grass were aliens – not like home. 
She planted delphinium and Canterbury bells 
to see if that would stave off the distance. 
She surveyed the room one last time, 
readied herself for the guests, 
the zipper of on her shift severing the silence.
In the hall mirror she surveyed the black sheath, 
checked the pearls inner glow. 
Dinner went off without a hitch, 
everyone marveled at how the Pinot Noir 
complement the steak perfectly. 
She marveled at how it resembled old blood 
stark contrast against the table cloth. 
The rental maid topped up her glass, 
Mrs Raynes cut a piece of steak, 
poised the fork to her mouth, 
surveying the tranquil scene, took a bite, 
laughed involuntarily, and breathed in 
her last breath of triumph and death. 
Not the pose she had envisioned.
The guests gathered round, shouting advice —
not one new the Heimlich Maneuver 
that could have saved her life. 
The black sheath, the coroner's bag, 
the final zipper closure.
The uninvited guest paid
his compliments to the hostess. 
Slipped out into the night.
She thought who would feed 
the horse his carrots now? 
The horse whickered 
and leaned toward the light.


5/10/2010

rev 10/22/2015 

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