In her own words...

"9 Table Settings"


someone gasps behind
red fingers

                       courtly guests
hang out the window
killing time

                       tidals wave
without a drop of
rain or wine

                       on a fork
in her river slide
a few fish

                       below the
salt someone's career
sounds like glass

                       no time to
duel with crumbs and

                       tonight melts
ice in draped glances
oh meringue

                       in spite of
tablescape I am
not my hand

conscience is silent
as a plate.


About this work

“9 Table Settings” was first published in Boston Review, Vol. 27, No. 6 (December 2002/January 2003), p. 35, and was featured in American Poet: The Journal of the Academy of American Poets, Spring 2003, p. 23, in conjunction with "Still Time: A Note on Dorothea Tanning's Poems" by Richard Howard, pp. 20-21.

“9 Table Settings” is also included in Dorothea Tanning's book, A Table of Content: Poems, New York: Graywolf Press, 2004, p. 36, and may not be reprinted without the publisher's permission.