A Blues for Nina
You’ve got to learn to leave the table
When love’s no longer being served
When love is no longer being served,
I stay seated and finish off the scraps.
I chew the gristle off all the bones
then eat the bones,
sop up the last of the gravy with a dinner roll,
knock the crumbs loose from the bread basket.
I drink the melted ice
and the pink remnants in all the wine glasses.
I pour out all the salt,
press it into my mouth grain by grain.
The bitter sad of it burns my tongue
with the taste of tears.
And I consider
that a better, easier way to deal
with heartache would probably be
to get up from here and leave with my dignity in toe
but instead, I down all the pepper too.
I scream for dessert
and when none comes,
I smash all the fine china,
knock the wine glasses to the floor,
bend the cheap silverware,
I tear up the tablecloth,
and pound my fist against the tabletop
until nothing is left but sawdust,
until there is no table left for me to leave.
And why does love always seem to end like this?
With shattered glass and a fistful of splinters
and me, still unbearably hungry?
Jasmine L. Combs is a writer, performer, and event organizer from Philadelphia, PA. She received her BA in English from Temple University, is a Babel Poetry Collective alum, and former Spoken Word Editor for The Fem Lit Magazine. Jasmine was the 2015 Grand Slam Champion of The Philly Pigeon Poetry Slam, a 2015 National Poetry Slam semi-finalist, and a 2016 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational champion. She also won the 2015 Apiary Magazine STUNG Writing Contest and her winning piece “Night Child” was turned into an animation. Her work has been published in Vagabond City Lit, Luna Luna, and her performances have been featured on Button Poetry, SlamFind, Blavity, and The Huffington Post. In 2014 she published her first chapbook Universal Themes. Currently, Jasmine is an organizer for The Philly Pigeon Poetry Slam, columnist for Apiary Magazine, and founder of Well Read Well Fed (a Sunday brunch and book club for Black women and femmes).