Three Collaborative Poems by Lauren Hilger & Dionissios Kollias for Flavor Town USA

Party Favors

I pretend it’s the fast and vicious future

with a slow sax and 1991 looming over
black sheer tights, friendly kisses on both cheeks.

I close my eyes to their emeralds and rubies

and panic, capture and share,
hand it over to others.

I give it away too soon,
before it becomes me.

Part of my mind is still whipping
the meringue in the copper bowl

that never touched oil.
I could never do it,

it wasn’t humid,
just couldn’t get it right for you.

Remnants of frenzy, the empty glass on the counter,
the bedroom window left slightly open.

The winter bed sheets. The high slit.
I begged my neighbor to stay for a Turkish coffee.

I begged.
Tapped the dining chairs, the couch, the edge of the bed.

The flurries outside become larger.
If you were only a visitor.

Interim You

A whole roasted fish
in a salt crust you crack
with a hammer:
the salted kiss of your summers
spent on coral and sea-pocketed rocks.
The air too close, tarry,
an embarrassing heat. It dents the trumpet 
you carry in your arms from Munich.
It leaves a mark on your sallow skin, 
a disservice to your handsomeness. 
You had wanted to arrive
with nothing extra, firm.
Perfect as medical portraiture. 
Your swim trunks pressed against me. Barefoot on stones.
Good god,
what’s worth a whole life?
Devotions to a future
scented by dried thyme. You were home.
I dug my fingers into the dirt.
I felt you out there.
The world that shows up after Mycena:
square-shaped nightclubs, 90s platform heels,
the sterling silver moon on your finger, it all
ends by mid-August.

I Can’t Meet Your Girl in These Shoes

I used to imagine a dark party where
I’d find him through the pull of my chest,

widening my tongue to taste more.

I should be translated as “proceed”—as if all things to all men,
as if I could shake and dry off instantly.

The glass against leaves, the soft crush. It was mine!

A laugh from another room, their sharing of white chocolate and toffee bars.
I want to take their lawn mowers and ride off.

This party looks like a perfumery complex in ruins,

concrete sparkle penny cheap,                                    
flashing car lights during a winter rainstorm.

The colors slowly rotate between red and yellow.

No party here, just me and three printed photographs
from the disposable camera at the beach—
driftwood keeps its tawny promise, doesn’t it,

it won’t splinter any hand that pets its length—

Also one apple from the bodega, it made no difference.
Turning to one side, head on arm, I fall asleep right there.

Bare-chested.

Lauren Hilger is the author of Lady Be Good (CCM, 2016) and Morality Play (Poetry NW Editions, 2022). She serves as a poetry editor for No Tokens.

Dionissios Kollias’ work has appeared in Hobart, No Dear Magazine, Pinwheel, and elsewhere. He lives in New York.

Their collaborations have been published in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, GlitterMOB, Pinhole Poetry, Pouch, The Tiny, and Zone 3.

Image: seriouseats.com

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