The skunkweed no less than the peony is part of the extravagance— the button lost by the bourbon bowl no less than the host’s nugget cufflinks— the telescope bolted to the rail, through which drunks peer at the planets, no more than the bonfire. In lace-leafed trees overhanging the party, insects pump their pearly eggs into visible foam. Their larvae hatch, starlike in number. Their singing stops a man poking dark a hot spark on his wife’s stomach with a forefinger dipped in champagne. The lovers lovingly humping in the barn don’t stop. The guests in ballroom dresses, asleep with the dogs belly up in the moonlight, don’t wake. But one veteran of similar events—recently back from town with more wine, a neat semi-circular bite taken from the brim of his top hat— one voice of experience remarks how loud them bugs are, before the hostess turns up her guitar’s amplifiers, and the not-quite-right five-year-old, somehow still awake, starts boogying, silhouetted by the flames.

DAVID BRUZINA teaches reading and writing in the English Department at the University of South Carolina Aiken. His poems have appeared most recently in The Greensboro Review and Waccamaw.