Fling Marcelle Heath

Small Talk

Around the dining room, the guests make small talk. The talk of some is so small, it is quark-sized. Some talk easily. Two or three flirt. A few examine gesture’s blueprint in the kitchen. Snippets mimic augmented fourths. Pitch echoes reinforcement, denial, and abatement. There are declamations in bedrooms, consults on the back patio. A handful venture into dark spaces. Many embrace. Talk furrows in breast bones. A tête-à-tête evokes recurring dreams. A latecomer swallows “account” and “split” and “reduce.” Another gets an earful from a stranger’s imaginary friend. The ones listening make escape plans. The rest filch stories with impunity, cheeks hot with fury/lust. All hold signs between parted fingers and lips, hearts and minds aflame. The mischief-makers overstay their welcome, and a game of chicken erupts. Nouns topple, followed by adverbs, adjectives, and –

Verbs, bloodied and gloating, kill as usual, and cartwheel out the door. The baffled revelers pause for their words to come back to them, to tell them what to do.

Marcelle Heath is a fiction writer and editor. She curates Apparel for Authors, an interview series that explores how writers, fashion, and the public sphere intersect.

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