After the Party

By Alison Stine Alison Stine
Sugar dries on paper plates. The cake’s   
decimated and barely touched. What to do   
with the balloons? A few float listlessly,   
unattached, still bearing like bandages   
the tape that bore them to the wall.   
They’ve gone dull, rubber tips darkening   
to a bottle’s pinch. It’s too late, or too early.   
There are too many on the floor, stirred up   
as I stir. In the end, I cut them, urge a blade   
into the inch between knot and blossom.   
Slow deflation. It reveals what they are:   
sacs of plastic, stale with air. I’ve seen this   
before, in the newspaper picture of Nefertiti,   
bound in the antechamber of a tomb,   
cast out of favor, her body, barely wrapped.   
How they know her: by the queenly jaw,   
age of limbs and teeth. Also, by the broken   
mouth, smashed by priests so she cannot   
eat, cannot breathe in the afterlife.

Source: Poetry (December 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2008
 Alison  Stine


Alison Stine's first book, Ohio Violence, will be published by the University of North Texas Press in February 2009. She is also the author of a chapbook, Lot of my Sister (Kent State University Press, 2001). She lives in New York and Ohio.

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Poems by Alison Stine

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SUBJECT Living, Activities, Social Commentaries

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