A Marriage (a poem)

poem by Kym Silvasy-Neale, copyright 2017


there is an art to avoidance

& most evenings excuses come easily

until exotic smells of a home cooked meal

seep between the party wall

pushing me towards the kitchen

to confront

empty shelves

I muster up the courage,

muster up

a hodgepodge of ingredients….

….none of these will work.

I read the cracked spines of my cooking porn: a shelf of instruction

a dog earned, smearless

wish list of who I want to be—

I want to be a person who cooks

I want to mise en place

display my Wustof knives, sous vide in my

Le Creuset        hand squeeze Myer lemons until my age spots disappear


Generations of aproned women behind me

their hard worked hands on hips       tisk-tisk

somewhere, out there, as if to say

For God Sake Girl, Put dinner on the table!

But I’d rather order out

free up time for


served up

all over our bodies, heat building

friction &

sweat &


pulling us out of the rabbit hole of avoidance

to touch

to kiss


eyes open, looking into each other

He’s behind me now      asking

what’s for dinner

I shrug


a cookbook off the shelf

open the covers, splayed on the kitchen counter

wet fingers point:

“An omelet for two”

a smile.


we stand, in our cramped, cluttered kitchen

a team

sweating in the summer heat

both of us hungry

we work

to sate our appetites

—a marriage

How to Party like Mrs. Dalloway

  1. First,  go out for the flowers yourself. That’s the easy job, getting the flowers. Leave the dirty work to someone else, like scrubbing the kitchen or removing doors from hinges.
  2. Speaking of the help, remember they will become overwhelmed by the demands you are placing upon them. While perfection is a must, keep in mind it’s highly unlikely you will have a Prime Minister in attendance. Therefore ease up on the help.
  3. As hostess you should dress in your most flattering attire. An old love will be in attendance, and you’ll want to remind them of the person you once were.
  4. If you insist on segregating your party after the food has been consumed, might I suggest to not segregate by gender? Instead allow the party to segregate themselves into groups: single people looking for a bit of flirty fun, those who know each other through the work they do, people with kids, etc.
  5. No matter how hard you try and entertain your guests there will always be one person who wished they never came to your party.
  6. As people come and go you may wonder if your party is a success. You will wonder if your presence as hostess matters at all. If people are talking, eating, and drinking, then be proud of your  party’s success. After all, the hostess sets the tone.
  7. As you mingle with your guests note how they all appeared to have failed in their lives.  A twenty-first century soundtrack might include bands from the New Romantic period. Merely a suggestion.
  8. Guests should never bring up topics like suicide, as death is sure to be a buzz kill. If someone does you have the right to feel annoyed.
  9. If you find you are not having the same level of fun as your guests, that is to be expected.  Hostessing, after all, is work–and not for the faint of heart.
  10. A party isn’t the place for the hostess to consider one’s own aging body or mortality. However, if you feel the need to go there please find an unoccupied room where you can retreat and reflect. A quote (or two) from Shakespeare might be in order. Regrets, we’ve all had a few, an acceptance of them can help you press on.