The Third Feast
by Mary Speaker
We were the first ones here. We made sacrifices,
and we made ourselves comfortable. Our boredom
was not a topic of conversation. We redeemed each other
and so did not need to be saved and so we were saved.
We cashed in our friendships for two-person love.
We were told there would be others. We went
to find them, found no one. In the interim, we learned
to forage.We found supplies, which ran thin, so we formed
factions. For protection, for love, for comfort
against the other factions. Our scales went from one to ten.
We were of average height with extraordinary variations.
Our families were rich and fecund absences.
In the summertime, cloudscapes never failed
to entertain us. Daily our uncertainties rose up,
and we withdrew. We went behind the barn alone.
Climbed trees, drank. Built our forts and invited others
inside and made them leave when it suited us.
We invented systems of belonging that felt
valuable enough that we would want them.
We discarded each one as it revealed its flaws.
We wanted a new system. We wanted
a victory we would never be ashamed of.
We spoke in basements and kitchens.
We received gifts and we gave them away.
Suddenly, our hands were filled.
We laughed with our mouths open.