❦Clay Coloured❦

Bleak and bland, a bothersome blight.


Invite II


Imagine: I am to host a party. The setting is a small but well-kept cottage on the countryside. There is a
herb garden out back and large peony bushes up front. There is a gravel walkway and a crumbling stone
wall. My maiden name is written, but faded, on the mailbox and on a small wooden sign hanging
crookedly on the recently painted green wooden gate.
The kitchen is cramped but well-lit, coloured in pale yellow, green and white. A garlic garland is hung at
the end of the curtain rod (the window is above the farmhouse sink). There are no curtains, and no blinds.
On the counter are a pair of blue gingham oven mitts, stained with soot and dried, unrecognisable sauces.
I have rearranged the furniture in the living room to fit all of the guests. Two armchairs have been brought
down from the upstairs bedroom and placed opposite the couch, crammed in between the already existing
armchair and a small white side table. I have removed some of the artworks from the walls.
A wooden folding table has been set up in the garden, surrounded by mismatched chairs pulled from all
over the house. There is no tablecloth, but the table is already splotchy with paint and blood and tar, so it
won’t matter much were someone to spill their drink or drop a forkful of garden peas.
I have cleaned every room and removed every last leaf with even a hint of brown from the lilac bushes. I
have ironed my dresses and shirts and hung them up for all to see. I have brushed my teeth and dragged a
comb through my hair a hundred times. I have prayed and flayed the hares and the rabbits, flagellated
myself in the corner of my room and peeled back the sheets from my bed to make sure there were no bugs
crawling beneath. I have practiced pouring the wine, cutting the meat, smiling at baby photos,
remembering how to breathe. I have covered myself in thick theatre makeup, and I have cleaned every
room and removed all the artworks from the walls.