by Beth Gordon

Introduce survivors like debutantes 

entering a ballroom where pink champagne 

punch swelters in the sticky plastic bowl. 

Insert lists of honorable mentions, 

science fair awards, middle names. Do not

deviate from this form.

                                                                  Unseal the crypt.

Puncture the marble with a litany of cousins too good to dissolve in daylight. 


Plant Venus flytraps around the mess. 


Begin each line with fingerpaint: orange to signify 

an abundance of fear. 

Assign tasks to the great-grandmothers: 

pour the punch 

pass the guest book from uncles to aunts

correct bad grammar on candy wrappers.



Beth Gordon is a poet, mother and grandmother currently living in Asheville, NC. She is the author of Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe (2019, Animal Heart Press); Particularly Dangerous Situation (2020, Clare Songbirds Publishing) This Small Machine of Prayer (2021, Kelsay Books); and The Water Cycle (2022, Variant Literature). Beth is Managing Editor of Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, Assistant Editor of Animal Heart Press, and Grandma of Femme Salve Books. Twitter and Instagram @bethgordonpoet.