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Poem: Dinner for a Special Occasion 

Dinner for a Special Occasion

Andrea spends her time awaiting the arrival of time.
To keep herself occupied, she washes her body with
perfumed soaps, paints her lips fire-engine red.
She’s anticipating that, at some point, the days
will sort themselves out into yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Meanwhile, in the long-hand hours, the scraps of moments,
she is looking in the mirror, like she’s a list of
things she needs to do: thicker eyebrow, whiter teeth,
one chin instead of two.
“Are you ready yet?” shouts a male voice in the background.
She wonders which year is it that he’s talking to.
He’s her husband or something. Or is that was? Or will be?
And he can be so instantaneous. Maybe that’s the problem.
Body, name, and face... how do they come together?
Surely, the calendar’s involved. And the phone
call from her mother... “Happy Birthday.”
Past... it sounds like an accrual... and the bathroom
cabinet holds so little.
Future... now, where did she put those pills.
It’s their tenth anniversary, so he says.
So when do they celebrate the other nine.
She’s impatient but she’s scared of that impatience.
What if time gets here and she’s still who she is now.
“I haven’t got all day!” her husband yells.
So that’s why he’s upset. He’s waiting for time too.

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  • Poetry edited by Phillip Levine.


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