Host Mask

Something in you tumbles out & under a chair leg
& now the dinner party is ruined. The other animals

don’t bare their teeth. There is a general consensus
that the nonstop beeping from the kitchen is a heartbeat
& everyone in the room will live forever no matter

what’s on the rug. Hooray. You’re seasick from
the boat paintings. There is a siren howling

from the bathroom bottles & you have the equilibrium
of wreck. Shoulder lists as you patch a story mid-tale,
you so conscious of the joints in your left toes.

Your guests put their nice-teeth back in. The corners
of their mouths grow legs as the night drags

its busted ankle along & rings its ice bells, the awning
with its icicle grin, you uvula swiveling
in the window center, telling a story. Animated

like a defibrillator cord. Everyone gets a blindfold,
everyone gets a blindfold & pińata whispered

in their ears, the scent of a curled letter dampening
the room; the hydrangeas officiating from the table
hunch further with every word. If you weren’t such

a fine, fleshy subject, they’d stop imagining the give
of your windpipe as you speak. If your eyes could limp

into others’ sight, if the petals could finish drooling off,
someone would pluck them off the floor.


Brandon Amico is from New Hampshire. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Carolina Quarterly, The Cincinnati Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hunger Mountain, New Ohio Review, Phoebe, Verse Daily, and other journals. You can follow him on Twitter, @amicob, or visit him at