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Dinner Party

by Piero Filpi

The floor shakes, but the business man

In the stained tie will not stop talking. 

He sits across from me. The waiter

Shaves the leg of lamb in strips,

A stainless steel knife in his hand. 


The floor shakes, and the poet beside me

Orders a pint of bourbon: rocks. 

It comes. He gulps it down and orders

Another plate. He likes his meats. 

He’s sweating over plates of meats. 


The floor shakes, and it’s raining, raining. 

The rain falls hard, and then subsides,

And then falls hard, but you can hear

The rain over the talking and chewing

And slurping and the celebration. 


The floor shakes, and nobody knows 

Just what we’re celebrating, but

The rainy evening sky stretches on 

Outside and we are in an earthquake 

But we are celebrating and 


The floor shakes and to my right

The girl in the black veil with the sangria

Has covered her eyes. What’s her name?  

I can’t hear her. The poet’s shirt

Is soaked. He strips. The meats continue. 


The floor shakes, and we’re in an earthquake,

An earthquake, and I’m way too close

To this shirtless man. His arm-hairs touch

My own, and every rumble jabs

An ache in the professor’s back. 


The floor shakes, he lets out a moan, 

Prompting his neon bottle of pills

To crack. The silverware is clanging

Against the salt and pepper shakers,

Ceramic plates, and against themselves. 


The floor shakes, but the business man

Is paying for white wine with red meat. 

I do not like white wine with red meat. 

He eats so much sweat shines on his brow. 

I can’t contribute to the conversation. 


The floor shakes, and I can’t contribute

Because the poet said the steak 

Needed more salt and there’s an earthquake

And everyone is saying it’s the rain

And the professor’s smiling through the pain.


The floor shakes, and I’ve had too much

So I doze off from time to time

And who knows what happened to my watch

And no one’s listening and the gathering

Persists and the constant shaking persists and


The floor shakes while ice is trembling

Within this empty glass I didn’t order.

About the Author

Piero Joseph Filpi is from Miami Beach, FL. He has studied under poets like Ryan Wilson and Daniel Tobin. Piero holds a BA in English from the Catholic University of America, and is currently earning his MFA in poetry from Emerson College.

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