It is your birthday, my birthday, your name,
my name, you, my everloving, whatsyourname?


Is it inevitable, will I say, as you do, as your mother
did, it is so terrible of me, can you believe it, I forgot


it was his birthday? Then, will someone you love,
or I love, or he loved, stroke your arm, my arm,


and say do not worry, it is okay, you loved him so much,
and he loved you, oh, the roses this year in the garden.


How do we bear this living that carries in it so many
people who we forget, as we live on, forgetting.

Can we, a bower of roses, hold the rain
on our lips, taste cool drops on our petals,


fold our shadows deeper into our hearts a bee
climbing in for comfort. When we pass and shake


the thorns, rain falling, with us, will we remember
the love that holds us with or without a name?

Evalyn Lee’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Letting Go: An
Anthology of Attempts, ed. Martha Hughes, Hawaii Pacific Review,
War, Literature, and the Arts Journal, Broad River Review, California
Quarterly, Cider Press Review, Edison Literary Review, The Fourth
River, Plainsongs, Saint Ann’s Review, and Willow Review.