Be a Good Host

by Toni Spencer

Welcome monsters, the fuck ups, the loneliness, the judgements. The growling, the grieving and the fears. 
Welcome the monsters. 

Slowly, let them find the seat they like. 
It may be your favourite chair, your lap, or that space behind the fridge. Welcome them.

They may smell of lavender, or sewage, of sweet sunrises, or the entrails of lost species. They may, 
having been welcomed in to your home like this, become very very 
quiet all of a sudden. And some, 
perhaps, one or two may begin to scream. 
Be a good host.

Bear with them. Make tea. Pour out the last of 
your elderberry vodka. And yes, those biscuits you’ve been saving
for the apocalypse? Them too.

Be a Good Host, because now, the thing is, you’re in this together.
Laws are being passed to stop you escaping. Be A Good Host. 

Welcome these ones you so unwittingly silenced. 
The monsters are longing for you. They want you to notice them, to listen 
to their stories, to play with their tails, to let them wrap you 
in the greatest of hugs, to tend to their matted hair, 
as if you had all the time in the world.
Because maybe you do.

Be a good host. 
Let your welcome be timeless, where no guest 
ever feels you wanting them to leave, no matter 
how out of your depth you feel.

Be that ‘guest house’ Rumi spoke of. 
Let the ones you’ve been holding at bay be your 
teachers, your lovers, your saviours, the bearers of new recipes, 
the writers of new love poems and radical manifestos.

Be a good host. 
Welcome the monsters.

Written in the time and space between lockdowns, when Italy was closed but England and India were still ‘open’. Written in the wee hours while attending to possible symptoms that might mean I was becoming a host to our newly global companion Covid19. Written with love.

Toni, March 2020.

Toni Spencer
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