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Eighty Ninth Birthday

Starched napkins, candles, paper flowers

in swan-necked vials, imitation crystal,

maroon carpet, golden brocade curtains,

last year’s lady not here yet,

not well perhaps

or overlooked from some invitation


Simulated parchment menu

embossed leather covers lead the way

to Kaishu script temptations inside;

out of season delicacies, reminiscent

of a far eastern summer or bought

in Chinatown probably


Gum feels like hell

one of my molars cracked

down to the root so it had to be

extracted, meaning wrenched out

with savage pliers, the gap feels

raw, goes down forever

last year’s lady not here yet


We’re celebrating someone’s birthday

hope it’s not mine, have a little wine

it will ease the pain, thank you

I know your face from somewhere

but I can’t quite place you, a while ago

at one of these dinners I think it was


The menu’s changed since then

(probably the owners as well)

food’s exaggerated, dressed up

in foreign looking disguises, it’s strange

I put my tongue there and its gone,

last year’s lady still hasn’t arrived


Excuse me do you perhaps have a calendar

what year is this?  Should I have some

bridge work done or just leave it and get

used to its not being there any longer?


It’s a nice wine, think I’ll have a little more

where’s last year’s lady?  Oh dear,

I think she’s not coming after all.

What’s for dessert?

a glass of cognac would be good

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© Johnmichael Simon



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