she said, I’m leaving now
he looked at her through his gin funnel
she was nude & scarred & not at all appealing
he opened some applejack against his boot
his top hat fell off, he dropped his ice tongs
three members of the commedia dell’arte frowned
his goat was clearly pissed & too afraid to show it
still, though his wife was half out the door
there was a relic of the patriarchy in his aperitif
a blonde kneeling, her onion breasts floating
& besides there was a dead woman in organza
lying under the piano bench, or was it his wife
passed out again for shame or carnations





then Ethan says I’m working the hell-on-wheels librarian look today
more specifically, he says, a New York City Public Library librarian
who’s nursing a vicodin/vodka hangover and has no time for anyone
Immanuel Kant? Find it yourself, bitch. There’s a system for a reason

Michelle says, but the belt? Not so much. You’ve got to lose the belt
then Jon says, what is that like your fourth cigarette in the last hour?
I start to say no but then I remember how Tim’s always saying that I
extrapolate from my own experience, and I’m like, Jesus, Kneedler

whose experience should I extrapolate from? Or is extrapolation itself
the problem? I’m sitting at the bar trying not to smoke or extrapolate
but then the conversation returns to my outsized belt and Ethan says
“You’ve become a living extension of your poetry; you do its bidding”

Michelle says listen, don’t be offended, we’re not criticizing your style
Laura snorts and asks who would dare? Nobody. You just can’t do it.
“You’re Karyna ‘shut-the-fuck-up’ McGlynn.” Michelle says whatever
ok, so just think of it like this: we’re line-editing your outfit, that’s all





I appear cold, muddy, unstable in the foyer.
My parents are polite, but stiff, like a French host family.

They have new children, who have new toys
which make intergalactic noises in the night.

Their eyes are brown with gold flecks, not like mine.

They either can’t remember things or don’t care
that I hate tomatoes. Over dinner, my mother asks
my middle name. When I tell her, she says “oh, yes?”

Trying to feel relevant now is a bit like
touching my own mouth shot full of anesthetic,
or forming the word “bouche” while drunk.

I survey the unnatural ocean of their new blue carpet
and try not to chew like a starving person.

This is my family, these people so inept at things like
memory and monopoly, I feel like a trickster god
hiding my funny-money under the board.