︎︎︎ Sylvie Baumgartel

︎ August 30, 2022

In high school, I went to a dinner party
With aristocracy from the former Yugoslavia.
At the end of the meal, everyone stared in
Horror at me while I licked off the
Remaining sauce from my plate.
This is what my brother & I have watched
Our mother do so many times &
I didn’t even know that it was wrong.
I had my arms perfectly
Poised on the table
& had exquisite posture while I held
Up the pretty porcelain plate
Painted with violets & licked
& licked & licked until it was clean.

Sylvie Baumgartel
has published two books of poetry: Song of Songs (FSG, 2019) and Pink (FSG, 2021). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Financial Times, The Paris Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Nation, Harvard Review, Subtropics, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.