Do come in for a spot of tea.
I have not seen you for so long.
—Emily Post, Etiquette, in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home (1922)
After the throes of a global pandemic,
who wouldn’t dedicate 38 chapters
to defining Best Society’s etiquette?
There’s so much room to write the rules
for social life when socializing comes
with a side of Spanish flu. I want to be
four years removed from anti-mask
debates, death counts, and dining room
curfews, immersed in curtsies and bows
and the proper ways to dress my maids
I plan to hire with a butler, his suit
tailored and ready to receive my hoards
of visitors. These days, I spend long hours
handscripting invitations to the attention
of dozens of different couples, dates
left blank in case of new coronavirus
variants. Be ready, friends, to talk only
of what we all find pleasant, no more ills
or misfortune, our laughter absent
of cynical wit. Instead, we will spend
long hours sipping a spot of tea and perpetually
shaking each other’s perfectly clasped hands.