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Weekly Poem: ‘All My Friends’ Barbecues Need Attending’

By Carrie Oeding

I’m not as much to look at as I think I am.

It is the fashion to put oneself down, except when fishing.

Someone hands me a plate of Mexican potato salad and says, Who made this fusion crap?

My friends say, We love you! Don’t be so hard on yourself. I keep moving toward the edge of the pool to see my nice ears.

Friends! In order to have them I must say I let old people through doors first, that babies’ shrieks make me gently call my breasts “momma,” that every girl loves a pony, and that I think two lovers are broken halves that make a whole.

I’ll mention Rob’s name. Rob. Rob says he’d rather go fishing than come to these barbecues. I agree. Rob and I aren’t friends.

The real moment of each night is when I decide between I have trees for friends or I have friends for trees.

When I’m ready to tell a story, I will. When I am, back off.

The best decision, when preparing to go, always is to make the Mexican potato salad.

The wrong decision, when accepting an invitation is to admit I know that a separated couple, a deviated septum, and a three-fingered child are still not as bad as being the shy one in the group.

Trees. Trees! The overlooked meat!

I’d prefer to hate myself than just say I hate myself.

My friends say I don’t mention my friends enough. Give us names!

And when it’s time to say goodnight, someone calls me Joan.

Carrie OedingCarrie Oeding is the author of “Our List of Solutions” (2011, 42 Miles Press). She is a native of Minnesota. She received her M.F.A. from Eastern Washington University and her Ph.D. in from Ohio University, where she was awarded the Claude Kantner Fellowship. She is a visiting assistant professor at Marshall University.

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