August 14th

By Karie McNeley

When you forget your lover’s
birthday, don’t try to make up
for it. No sweet excuses.
No happy belateds! Just
no! If it’s only been a
day or two, let it slither
into three, then four, then ten,
thirty, eighty. She’ll never
notice. Soon enough the year
will have passed like laundry and
countless dishes, and you’ll be
back at that horrible day.
Your love will be a whole year
older, fatter, wiser, and
a lot dumber too. And though
your memory has not really
improved. You’ve grown more aware.
And this time, you’ll notice the
cool icing on her stone lips,
the T-shirt she is wearing
that isn’t yours, the lustful
bruise on her neck. You’ll ask her
what sharp secret she’s holding
behind her back. And a grin,
wicked and still, will distort
her face as you say “Happy—

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