Birthday by Rustin Larson

birthday
.
Birthday
.
Starts with the basement guy arriving
to look it over: cement
flooring in new states of upheaval,
a mysterious moon-glow vine sprouting
from a crack in the floor’s center,
auras of many disturbed
bodiless entities, walls leaking
and crumbling, mausoleum
of disinterred gloom, the basement does
not pass.
.
So the next thing I do is hide.
I’m taking a week off from work
and all they do is send whiny
emails about how hard it is to be
understaffed. The guy next door
is petulant because I won’t hire him
to trim my bushes. He sits shirtless,
condor wings tattooed on his chest
and arms, his breath reeking
of whiskey and vomit and cigarettes
and mumbled threats about shooting holes
in my roof.
.
“Tighter than a drum” is the country song
I write, strumming on my cheap electric.
Friends send me photographs
of fictional moon settlers
and their dangerous robots. Wrens flicker
innocently under the rain spout.
.
Rustin Larson’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, and North American Review. He won 1st Editor’s Prize from Rhino and was a prize winner in The National Poet Hunt and The Chester H. Jones Foundation contests. A graduate of the Vermont College MFA in Writing, Larson was an Iowa Poet at The Des Moines National Poetry Festival, and a featured poet at the Poetry at Round Top Festival.
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