POEM: Birthday wish


I am nothing but numb
as the familiar faces flood me
with a collective grin of ivory variants;
polished, stained, chipped or gold-enhanced
before, in dutiful but dubious harmony,
they pour out

happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you

and I feel myself shrinking

happy birthday dear grey ham

until I’m five or six years old

happy birthday to yooo

and quite ready to crawl under the table.
And then their gleeful mouths go

hip hip hooray!
hip hip hooray!

and I know what’s coming next,
so I lip-sync my very own

nog a piep!

and then, in surrender, join in for the final


and relieved that it’s over for another year,
quietly wish to be transported, alone,
to a lost and forgotten island,
sooner rather than later.



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