by Marissa Bell Toffoli.


Wicker chairs where guests perch,
triangle sandwiches with the crusts removed.

The perfect setup for tea, only nobody
dons dainty gloves anymore.

Out upon the grass, you pinwheel your arms,
turn your face toward the sun.

It’s off-putting, such a large gesture.
Too much openness.

Oh, honey, your lace dress has come
unraveled along the side seam,

the feathers pinned in your hair
have slipped, tangled in distress.

We must abandon the way we thought
things were supposed to be,

which isn’t the same
as the way things ought to be.

Delicacy may mask intent,
but you can’t hide

behind manners forever.
A teacup is a cup.

You can drink anything
from it, sunlight or poison.

Separate self from scene,
a tilt of the head downward

and hat hides eyes—
a wide brim is good for that.




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