Dinner Party in Which I Bury My Hands

The motivational poster at the gym reads: ONE DAY

Which makes me think Vogue got it right,
swapping cologne samples for scents of places

people wouldn’t miss until they were really gone.
My list begins: dry cleaners, rosemary, burning leaves.

My father returning from chopping down the pear tree
which had made a tumor of the sky. Tomatoes. Then dry

erase markers. Leave out cigarettes because they remind me
of the dachshund I rushed from the backseat to the vet

who was already thirteen minutes dead. The receptionist was kind
given it wasn’t our dog, given that night the news anchor

described the sunset like a television tossed from a speeding car.
I agreed but what I really wanted was for someone to tell me

that my heart is a twin bed full of coats at a dinner party
I didn’t even know I was hosting. Or maybe I did.

I’ll ask all my guests what they think of my new candle:
Does it capture Vacation from Your Mind?

We’ll laugh as the sun goes down. I’ll tell them
what the vet told me: On your left, down the hall.

There. Go ahead and wash your hands.


Tyler Kline is a high school English teacher living in Pennsylvania. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets, Nashville Review, The Journal, and Passages North.