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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 62

The Artist’s Birthday

Division Street, Chinatown
Picnic umbrellas provide shade
for a circle of friends
clinking glasses for the birthday girl.
Outdoor diners, wearing masks,
shifting folding chairs to avoid the sun.
A thunderstorm rolls in
blasting wind driving rain sideways
claps of thunder, bright lightning
scuttling party guests venture
into the bar turned general store.
The barkeep ushered the group
to the stay-dry backroom
against all social distancing rules.
They gather together
sing birthday songs
eat caramel cake
while keeping a few feet apart.
Wearing a mask except for sipping and eating.
The drinks flowed
alcohol was sure to kill germs.
Friends gathering
for the first time in four months
trying to act normal
celebrating a birthday
in quarantine.

  Linda Kleinbub