After the Party Pantoum

Working that walk so hard it hurts,
it hurts, walking home in someone else’s high heels.
You were who you were before you came here—
a small animal, wandering, a drink in your hand.

It hurts, walking home in someone else’s high heels
so leave them by the road, a small monument to failure, leave them
to the curious small animal. Wonder— what was in that drink?
Work that barefoot walk in the rain.

Left the road for a small moment. Failed to leave
when, clearly, you’d had enough.
Work that barefoot walk in the rain
while you run through every stupid thing you said and did.

Clearly, you’d had enough—
enough to walk right up to him and
run through every stupid thing you said and did
and then apologize.

Enough! Walk right up to him and
give him a great big kiss
and then apologize
for bringing the party.

So you kissed him. Great.
You were who you were before you came here.
You brought the party and now you’re
working that walk so hard it hurts.


*Originally published in The Monarch Review and The Stranger.

Rachel Kessler’s essays, poems, cartoons, videos, and visual art have appeared in The Stranger, Narrative Magazine, Literary Hub, Poetry Northwest, The Open Daybook, forthcoming Ghosts of Seattle Past, and public restrooms throughout Washington state. Kessler is cofounder of poetry performance collaborations Typing Explosion and Vis-à-Vis Society. She is currently working on a community cartography project called “Profanity Hill: A Tour of Yesler Way.”

Website: rachelkessler.org

Twitter:@RachelLaKessler

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