When a Writer Attends a Dinner Party

I Capture the Castle, p. 115:

I had a queer sort of feeling, watching them all and listening; perhaps it was due to what father had been saying a few minutes before. It suddenly seemed astonishing that people should meet especially to eat together — because food goes into the mouth and talk comes out. And if you watch people eating and talking — really watch them — it is a very peculiar sight: hands so busy, forks going up and down, swallowings, words coming out between mouthfuls, jaws working like mad. The more you look at a dinner party, the odder it seems — all the candlelit faces, hands with dishes coming over shoulders, the owners of the hands moving round quietly taking no part in the laughter and conversation. I pulled my mind off the dinner table and stared into the dimness beyond, and then I gradually saw the servants as real people, watching us, whispering instructions to each other, exchanging glances.


Stay tuned.



The narrator’s father, who has only published one book, but a very famous one, says to his wife, the narrator’s stepmother:

My dear, you’re an ass. — p. 111

Poetry Monday: Jon Pineda


from the collection Birthmark (The Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry, 2004)

We’d been trying for months
when, one night, we heard
what sounded like a baby,
its cries sharpening outside.
Our neighbors had gathered
in the backyard & stared
high into one of the trees
where a young raccoon clung
to a branch bending slowly.
There were holes in the trunk
where its mother had nested,
& this one, no bigger than
your hand it seemed, flashed
its eyes in fear when spotlight
ricocheted through leaves.
I think about this animal’s
face, how it was taken away
from the tree boarded up
now, its mother long gone.
I take comfort in forgetting
the details & hold our son.

Jon Pineda was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised in Tideswater, Virginia. His poetry has appeared in Many Mountains Moving, the Asian Pacific American Journal, Puerto del Sol, and many other publications. He lives in Norfolk, Virginia.

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