you water the purple mums, an annual gift
In remembrance of —, potted on the porch
next to the wicker chair. It is said
a single petal at the bottom of a wine glass
will encourage a long & healthy life,
but if so, then this is the wrong flower
for such a day & there is no wine in this house
anyway. Anymore. Strange
how the birthdays keep coming.
Strange how he stays forty-four. Every year,
we lick frosting from our forks
& imagine a more livable world. In it,
his good legs. A cemetery of candles
extinguished by his breath.

Anna Meister

Julie Farstad, Stunt Girl's Sweet Reward (oil on canvas)