Steppe Rules

A young host.
A young host.

Welcome, my most esteemed guest

to this humble patchwork of

bent walls, carved and painted

supports, and felt so recently

worn by spring sands that it

resembles pitch but steams far less.

Sit. Sit. Sit!

Not on the left, nor on the right,

but up here next to the first

table and the set of wood and

plastic stools for other guests,

none as esteemed as yourself,

onto the coarse springs draped

in camel wool and expensive dyes.

Eat. Eat. Eat!

I killed the animal just this morning,

butchering it with expert care,

my wife, diligent as always, using

fresh well water to clean the

foul as some call it, and my son

took the pelt so that my mother

might winterize another coat.

Drink. Drink. Drink!

Everything from the animals,

who ingest the purest forms of

the land, must be taken in and

deeply so, for their medicinal

values are unmatched and their

symbolic return in the morning

from flung spoons across

discarded jaw bones and teeth.

My most esteemed guest,

these are commands, not requests,

and you will soon learn how

to properly conduct yourself

and entertain us hosts as you

adjust to this more compact life.

Perhaps you will even gain

the social graces enough to

walk in without disruption

before you must leave this land.

Composed 4/13/14

Author’s Note: I always wonder how Monoglians look at foreigners and their habits, in regards to etiquette. It’s a tricky cultural minefield to navigate, and as the visitor, you’re never quite sure when and how you should assert yourself at first. Visiting new homes is always a learning experience, to say the least.

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