manner school for eavesdropping girls

the fork goes to the left
of your grief. the knife, well,
you know what a knife does already.
my uncle used to tell me 
if i didn't get manners i was going
to become a mud room. i remember how
my fingers begged to be utensils.
their plunge into a landscape of cake.
frosting knuckles. my teeth were 
wooden staircases into a woman
i would not become. kissing mushrooms
on their foreheads. carrying a dead bird
to a burial. i listened to 
well water's gossip which told me
my uncle would never uncurve his spine.
his hair which grew like brush
around the base of a mountain.
i wake up with strings tied
to every finger. remember you are
supposed to be presentation.
i don't want anyone to be proud of me.
a husband buried under the table.
he counts his days in foot falls.
i over heard him say once
that i was too embarassing 
to take to the moon. i cut a hole
in my window & held the whole moon
with my hand. soft melted butter.
what did he know about the moon.
how to fold a napkin. how to chew
like a prophet. at church 
holding a smaller version of myself
in a metal bird cage. nothing
about me was meant to be holy.
i am a playground for better
or for worse. the manner school 
was first a structure & then
a doll house. vivid in a single bone.
i go there with a dinner bell.
sometimes practice again. just to prove
i could if i wanted to. braiding my hair.
girl's head only for mirrors.
all manners are about being
consumable. the fork always
to my left. here is what i will be
for your mouth. i will slouch.
i will run like fire. i will be
the family shovel bearer
& you will still look for ways 
to swallow bites of me. 

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