Guests

What can I say I just like this poem/story by Marie Howe.  I’m on a poetry kick if you haven’t noticed which, in reading, helps me a lot with finding more expressive words when writing. I recommend it to any writer. And I hypothesize, writing it out could only help…so I thought I’d do it here and share.  This piece is a bit strange…the first line is a killer. I get the feeling of Cheever’s famous short The Swimmer when I read it.  What do you think?

GUESTS   by Marie Howe

You are at a cocktail party, talking to someone who is skewering
a small hot dog with a toothpick when you see the dead peeking
out of the pantry, motioning to you.

Your partner, looking up, just misses your raised eyebrows and
the small wave that has ended in your hand pushing through your hair.
You say, “Suddenly, I have a headache.  I need a glass of water,”

and head through the pantry door where the hostess emerges carrying a tray
and announcing a game of charades.  You allow her to pass, then step
through the pantry to the kitchen where the cook and three

older uncles are sitting around the kitchen table talking.
They say, “Sit down, sit down, the party’s in here.”  You laugh, but decline
and go to the kitchen door where you hear something scratching to get in.

You open it to admit the cat that walks in precise steps to its bowl and eats.
Outside, the snow is falling like teeming arrows to the pavement
and piling up.  A sudden roar of laughter comes from the living room.

Many people are calling your name.  They want you on their team.
The men at the table are rising.  You join them, passing by the cook
and the cat that never looks up from its dinner.

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2 Comments

  1. I love this, Though I had one bump where I veered away from the tale with confusion.
    It was at a very big , a crucial spot too.
    I’m thinking that “when you see the dead peeking out of the pantry, motioning to you”

    might be stronger with “when you see the dead
    peeking in from the pantry, motioning to you”
    or even “when you see the dead peeking out from the pantry, motioning to you”

    Ms. Howe brought her tale home nicely.neat.

    Like

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