Winter 1986 • Vol. VIII No. 1 Poetry |

The Next Birthday

After the Moët,The fresh asparagus,The Homard Normandie,The Meursault Clos de Mazeray (1981),The Boeuf en Croûte Camaïeu,The Château Batailley (1970),The Sorbet Surprise,The toast to the Queen,The cigars and liqueurs,The voice of the toastmaster boomed:  "Mr. and Mrs …  Your excellencies,  Your grace,  My lords,  Ladies and gentlemen.  Pray, silence." And then the tributes started—For the man who had turned sixty,For the man who had everything—From the former prime minister,From the ambassadors, the scientists,And from me, a friend,About to become sixty myself. Do I want to celebrate my birthdayWith champagne, four hundred guests,Ambassadors?No, as usual, I am much more ambitious.Not with four hundred, but with two.Two women,The one dead, the other gone,Each as she chose. I shall celebrate alone.

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