Poetry / Prose Poetry

Etiquette

“They bleed for each other,” Mr. Shifterton said in that all-knowing, dramatic tongue that only writers and philosophers talk like. “Silly, silly kids.” Mrs. Carrysherself licked her sticky lipsticked mouth and nodded along, vodka-glazed eyes batting heavy lids, thick with black and blue dust caked on like sympathy on church Sunday. Clammer-lashed in the kitchen, a waiter tripped dishes slipped lids lifted women sifted in purses for distractions men glared at watches and re-tracked conversation tactic competition lacking spark. No sir, sorry sir, voices blurred and jewel-adorned necks and shoulders shifted. Upon noticing a rip in her stockings, Mrs. Carrysherself exited the party hastily. Mr. Shifterton took his wife’s silky palm, nails scratching off beauty and the two followed, sniffing in pungent odors of bottled flowers and exhaled wine and Lysol.

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