Recently, A Birthday Came: A Poem

©Kasiemobi Udo-okoye

Recently, a birthday came.

It came for me, and it had things to say.

It said “melanin will be your savior” and “what do we have to show?”

It said, “cake,” and I said no thank you.

It asked “Are we grownups now?” and I said “ask me tomorrow.”

It wanted to know about Syria and about our IUD and about whether we’d moved forward at all, about whether we had progressed, if we’d found that new job, if we’d gotten any better at texting back,

About whether our country was going to shit or going to war or just going through growing pains, in a long, long, long shared adolescence.

I looked around and said “but we’re still here. Goddamnit in my mom’s house, godammnit in this town, goddamnit with this lisp. We’re still here.”

I don’t think the birthday listen or cared. It just winked, magenta confetti falling off of its shoulder.

It wanted to know if I was going to get that tattoo and move to Korea

It slapped me on the back and congratulated me on that one thing with that one guy.

I spluttered on my cider.

Please, there are people around.

The birthday was happy about my attitude, stunted as it was.

And it was nice.

For us to be together.

Birthday bash, birthday smash, birthday crash, birthday cash

Ain’t coming.

The birthday came and looked at me and said “You’re still here. And that’s the gift.”

That at least, we could agree on.

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