Dinner With My Shadow

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I imagine Her

Not so hard, really

The one I’m constantly trying to forget

She incessantly sticks at my side

I imagine Her

Upon walking into a dinner party

Oh, the 13th Sister

Oh, the one who wasn’t invited


They’re embarrassed by Her

Nervous, prim and proper

Unable, really, to relax

Attuned to all the feels of the room

All the unattended forgotten ones

She fidgets, She fidgets

Short of breath and internally gasping for


But she stays


She stays

And she pulls out her measuring cups

Right there at the table

And she pulls out her calculator

Disturbing the frilly napkin

And she begins to tally the foods for possible consumption

This, this eases Her

This, this somehow distracts Her from the

Intensities of the unspoken she rides


She’s cleared off a part of the setting

She’s got her cups weighing

She’s got her numbers, calculating

She’s taking up space

Writing it all down

Before it goes inside


This keeps it all in order

Somehow this keeps it all in order


I imagine me, looking at Her

And wishing She wasn’t here, at the party

Knowing, everyone knowing She’s here with me

They stare at Her, and I, unsettled

Some even trying to tutor

Encouraging discretion

But still She counts,

Still She levels

The mashed potatoes

So the surface aligns precisely

And only then plops it onto

Her plate

She’s still deciding whether she’ll actually


She knows

How to push it all around



I hate Her

I wish she never existed

I wish she’d stop following me

And learn to chill out

I wish she’d know

How to laugh and eat and play

Choosing, tasting, adventuring

Like everyone else in the room

That she’d have other interests

Than the next meal, the next amount

The next possible poisoning

The next protective


That she’d be led by her hunger

And quelled by her fullness

That she’d speak with wisecrack

At the lurking phantoms swirling

Around the table

Changing the field

Trusting Herself

And not just trying to hold It all together

Until It no longer breathes


She haunts me

And I’d rather not go anywhere

Meals solitary, inside

Appeasing Her

Than to continually risk

The shame I feel

When she’s seen

When I’m seen,

With Her


But She, cups clanging

And numbers whirring

Doesn’t seem to really care

She just knows she’s got to survive

This madness

She does what needs doing

To keep us from drowning

In a culture, externally, showing no other way

In a culture, introjected, systematically brainwashed

And I stare at Her

Eyes focused and uninterested in small talk

And I begin to see Her

And what she’s doing

And start to understand

How she helps

How she is helping

Until the scene shifts

Until the evolved tools present

She’s holding out

For nothing less than The Truth

And I start to see Her

And I start to see



I say to myself, watching me

This crazed laced-up alchemist madwoman

Desperately trying to keep us in order

So we don’t just lose it in a world

Of no holding

I say to Her, myself

That’s pretty epic

In its own strange way

And I begin to accept Her, me

Seeing how She helps

Seeing how She’s needed


And I see Her

And I start

To maybe

To maybe someday

To maybe possibly

To maybe someday possibly


To love Her


Thanks for reading! This poem came from the following prompt–perhaps it will wet your whistle too?

What parts of yourself would you not take to dinner? What parts of yourself would you want to leave at home?


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