60th Birthday Dinner


If in the menís room of our favorite restaurant
while blissfully pissing riserva spumante
I punch the wall because I am so old,
I promise not to punch too carelessly.

Our friend Franco cooks all night and day
to transform blood and bones to osso buco.
He shouldnít have to clean them off his wall
or worry that a customer gone cuckoo

has mushed his knuckles like a slugger
whose steroid dosage needs a little tweaking.
My life with you has been beyond beyond
and thereís nothing beyond it Iím seeking.

I just donít want to leave it, and I am
with every silken bite of tiramisu.
I wouldnít mind being dead
if I could still be with you.

*Michael Ryan has written four books of poems, an autobiography, a memoir, and a collection of essays about poetry and writing. His New and Selected Poems was published by Houghton Mifflin and won the 2005 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He teaches at the University of California, Irvine. "60th Birthday Dinner" first appreared in The New Yorker.

Poetry Southeast literary journal southern poetry Chris Tusa

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