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Wednesday, January 13, 2021


by Michael Mark


For Lolo
Because it is your birthday, I’m going to ignore 
the four thousand people in our country who will die today. 
Because it is your birthday, I’m going to erase from my mind 
the insane president and treasonous riot he instigated
and the love video he put out to his thug followers as five people died 
during the siege of the Capitol, and pretend the polls are fake 
that say 45% of Republicans believe the breaking 
and entering was the right thing to do, and I’m going 
to drive to the card store – the good one, not the grocery
or the pharmacy with their picked-over puns,
but the fancy one that specializes in fine crafted, highly artistic 
expressions of earnest emotions, featuring 
only the cutest kitten and puppy pics, and charge 
at least six dollars and ninety-nine cents for ironic yet sincere stuff like: 
You’re not getting older—oh wait!—I just checked 
your sun dial—yes you are! Because it is your birthday 
I’m not going to even wonder if we should be celebrating 
considering today’s particularly disappointing jobs report
and the unnerving delay on stimulus checks and vaccines. 
I’m going to interrogate every rack on every aisle to pick out 
your perfect card, and because I can’t stop the riots 
or bring back the dead, or deliver the checks or administer the vaccine, 
I will, because it is your birthday, light the candle, and watch 
you close your eyes to the whole world and make your wish. 

Michael Mark’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Arkansas International, Copper Nickel, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Salamander, The Southern Review, The Sun, Waxwing, and The Poetry Foundation's American Life in Poetry. He’s the author of two books of stories including Toba and At the Hands of a Thief (Atheneum).