Generous Host

Stephen Danos

I used to read epic poems — like The Iliad or ad scripts for prescription medication side effects — but prolonged focus on one thing is detrimental to living like a mouse.

When I go for evening scurries in the neighborhood, I point out to strangers how things have really changed, and that fear is the government’s tool to distract us from subterranean towns. They seem just as confused with how maze-like life has become.

At dinner parties, friends tell me I tend to overreact. They mean well with their forced calmness, dismissing my pleas like cats dismiss human affection. I often acquiesce, as I want to be a generous host.

Though, there’s always one who throws their little hands up and decries: “Let’s not talk politics to keep the peace! Let’s instead create a plan for finding the cheese!” But as you know, it’s the host’s role to not tell guests where it’s hidden.

Stephen Danos is the author of three poetry chapbooks, including Missing Slides (Horse Less Press, 2016). His work has appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Boston Review, Court Green, Pleiades, Sixth Finch, TAMMY, and elsewhere. He lives in Portland, Oregon.