Meg Stout

At the Annual Christmas Party, Grasping a Small Plate of Hors d’oeuvres

Our skin sheds in the most inconvenient places.

One moment, you are alone in a room full of should-no-longer-be-strangers; the next, your DNA is on the floor.

Sometimes when you touch your hair, several strands fall to the ground.

Whether you pick them up depends on the circumstances.

When you are a child, invisibility is a game. You hide behind a tree, search for leprechauns, become engrossed in the bark.

No one believes that invisibility is a game.

Most of the time, speaking is like chewing a hard and buttery caramel: it coats your molars in thin, elastic lines as you stretch your jaws.

It is just easier to let the old truths continue: outside, weird, comfort at the edges.

In florescent rooms of bodies, try to remember the small mercy of breath, consider the awkward bumping of heartbeats.

DNA is a concept we do not often consider.

It is easy to forget the past.

It is not that speaking feels dangerous. The words just do not form: waiting on the outer edge of the mind, stillborn.

Sometimes you are just so desperate for an outreached hand.

Lean back. Worry about the smell. Do not let your body leave the slightest trace.

Driving home through the fog, rub your chapped lips together.

Hailing from Burlington, Vermont, Meg Stout is a writer and marketing specialist. She earned a BFA in creative writing from the University of Maine at Farmington, where she also served as an editorial intern at Beloit Poetry Journal. Her work has previously appeared in The Baltimore Review. She’s on the web at, on Twitter at @mpstout, and if she could get away with it, she would eat the entire bowl of after-dinner mints.

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