I’m at a surprise birthday party that hasn’t started yet
in an apartment I’ve never been to. A white woman in a
white face mask—cosmetic, not medical—asks if I can add
olives to the charcuterie. Since she hasn’t asked, I say my name.
She’s the host. I ask if a particular placement interests her.
My fingers gingerly drip olives onto the board like roses
into a bath, all in one neat, green pile. All along I’m seated.
She watches standing over me, says yes, just like that,
& walks away.

I’m at an afterparty in a cramped St-Germain flat, recanting a recent tryst
to new friends: when I arrive, he wants extraction,
wants it fast, wants me not to reciprocate at all.
Wish I’d known his exact want before coming
so I could’ve not come. Had I asked?
There’s part of me, probably, that feels safe letting men
let me down, I write while leaving.
In a window down the block, two mannequins—imitations of women
in dresses—stand side by side, one in a low-cut blue, the other
in black satin. Each has one loose, limp wrist
& the other hand in the other’s hand.