Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

Earth’s Birthday Party at the Retirement Home

At the Earth’s birthday party,
we don’t celebrate in years.

That’s not a thing,
the kids might say, or maybe

did. Years
were a construct, a way Earth

could see itself.
It was like pictures:

here I was in my goth phase, and here’s
where I had dinosaurs. Earth

couldn’t talk to us, by now, its teeth
were gone. We draped

a sash across its shoulders, found a crown. It
was a theme, as much as anything,

a way to pick the music. Green and blue and brown
balloons, just like from space.

Aged to perfection, said a sign,
like Earth was food.

We had a cake and sang and Earth blew

out its candles, asked
who everybody was, when we would

leave. We laughed and laughed. When

it rained, we moved
the party back indoors.

Something happened, and the toilet
overflowed, ran down the hall.

If no one cleans it, there’s
a canyon, someone said, like

this was news.

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco lives in California’s Central Valley and works as a librarian at UC Merced. Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals and in several chapbooks. She co-edits One Sentence Poems and First Frost.


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