You are cordially invited to be a public disaster. You are cordially invited to wait at a bus stop with an old woman who solicits your political opinions and then screams at you for them. The pleasure of your company is requested at the top of a Ferris wheel at a small-time amusement park renowned for its nostalgia and disrepair. Here is an engraved invitation to a party where you must drink only water and stand with your back to the wall while fending off medium-sized predators. The pleasure of your company is requested at an interminable conversation with a man just powerful enough that you must pretend to be interested in his opinion of the way you organize your handbag.
With regret I must decline, as my date book so frequently becomes distended from poor digestion. My schedule simply will not allow it, since it has only recently been domesticated and is not yet accustomed to bearing a heavy load. My calendar cannot accommodate your request: its structural integrity has been compromised by a colony of benevolent termites. I’m afraid I have no availability, as this year’s crop has withered under the blight of my brittle politesse, an affliction which, alas, is becoming common due to the increase in global temperatures, unpredictable weather, and the rise of monoculture—an ecosystem in which my enjoyment of your company cannot thrive.
Amanda Hope lives in eastern Massachusetts with her partner and cats. A graduate of Colgate University and Simmons College, she works as a librarian. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Lickety-Split, Palette Poetry, Small Orange Journal, Stirring Lit, and more. Her chapbook, The Museum of Resentments, was published by Paper Nautilus in 2020. You can find out more at her website, http://www.amandahope.net.