“The Dinner Party” by Jennifer Bushroe

The portions are miniscule.
Who can subsist on
a handful of seeds?
“She must be watching her weight,”
a woman whispers to me.
The bottle of wine I brought
sits unopened.

I shiver without my cloak,
which was collected when I arrived.
The mood lighting means
I hunch to see my plate.
The boy next to me does the same,
gazing at his golden reflection.

Flanking vases of dead flowers,
at one end our host
speaks of nothing but souls,
at the other end our hostess
blathers on about spring.

At least their dog is well-trained
and stays away from the table.
There’d be nothing worse than a
three-headed mongrel sniffing for scraps.

The dessert course is skipped—
probably deemed too cheery
for such a somber locale.

After a game of Shades,
it’s time for the tour,

but I sneak away to catch the ferry.

Jennifer Bushroe once swore on a statue of Peter Pan that she’d never grow up. She fulfills this oath daily by dancing like nobody’s watching, eating dessert before dinner, and writing speculative fiction and poetry. You can find Jennifer on Twitter, and her work in On Spec, Space & Time, Polu Texni, DreamForge Magazine, and more.