Every Year on Your Birthday

There is no cake. I can’t find
my glasses, my shoes, the remote

control. I shuffle around
in my bathrobe and slippers.

I shuffle from room to room.

Every song on the radio
reminds me of you. That one time,

that summer. You know the one.

There is no cake here, but maybe somewhere
you’re another year older.

Or maybe you’re 18,
and still mine, again.

The weather should be gloomy
but when I shift the drapes

the sun is always out,
all gritted teeth, splinters.

I drink too much.
I don’t drink enough.

A lifetime goes by.
Night falls.

The skin under my eyes
grows heavy. My eyes

are cups, bowls, basins—

and when I get dressed
in my most normal person clothes

and go to the store to buy
a carton of milk, I can’t help

crying just a little
as I walk down the aisles.

I am so afraid of forgetting

the beginning, the ending,
the arc. The years

when sugar roses
dissolved on my tongue

and my arms were still soft lengths
of ribbon.

Leah Browning is the author of three nonfiction books for teens and pre-teens (Capstone Press) and two chapbooks: Picking Cherries in the Española Valley (Dancing Girl Press, 2010) and Making Love to the Same Man for Fifteen Years (Big Table Publishing, 2009). Browning’s fiction, poetry, essays, and articles have previously appeared in a variety of publications including Queen’s Quarterly, 42opus, Blood Orange Review, and Tipton Poetry Journal, as well as on a broadside from Broadsided Press, on postcards from the program Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf, and in several anthologies. In addition to writing, Browning serves as editor of the Apple Valley Review. Her personal website is located at http://www.leahbrowning.com.

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One Response to Every Year on Your Birthday

  1. donalmahoney1 says:

    This is one fine poem by one fine editor of an excellent site.

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