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DINNER LANGUAGE!

Whatever is cool. Whatever is fine. Simple

is fine. Simple is more than fine. Home is fine too.

I’ll survive. As long as it’s something.

As long as it’s something that won’t wreak havoc

on me later, debilitate me, kill me, make me

sluggish, keep me from performing as I normally

perform. Nothing insane. Nothing crazy.

Nothing experimental, nothing with frills, nothing

fussy, just something dependable, classic,

comforting, plain, plain but interesting,

 

interesting but mild, mild but not boring,

boring but a good kind of boring. Nothing

I’ll pay for later, that’ll make me tough

company to stand behind. I’d rather it not

be something impulsive or something shame-

inducing but make no mistake I do want

to love it, to love the moment and to have it

feel good later, to feel good about it

how it went down. That doesn’t mean

it can’t be a bit sinful, sexy, tiny, artful,

 

pretty to look at, thoughtful, ethical, intense,

done cleanly and with a touch of passion,

a skosh of rustic flair and nostalgia.

It can even be something new, something

I might’ve forgotten, not even considered,

can’t even pronounce, wouldn’t dream

of attempting alone, that signals honest

refinement, that would be a timeless

but funky and fun-loving pleasure.

I think that’ll suit my mood, make my face

 

shine, funnel me into a few of my biggest

breaths, get me to cup my head with my hands

and scan the room, just enjoy myself

for once because, why not? We’re here

now, everyone is, and I made a wise choice.

 

Photo Credit: Marcus Quigmire via Creative Commons

About the author

Josh Kalscheur is the author of Tidal, winner of the 2013 Levis Prize from Four Way Books. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in FENCE, The Iowa Review, Slice Magazine and Washington Square Review, among others. He was the Halls Emerging Artist Fellow at UW-Madison for the 2015-16 academic year and most recently served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at SUNY-Fredonia.
 

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