Paul Guest, I am looking forward to your birthday
and the long chain of fitful celebrations
that will follow and be broken
by something like inconsiderate death
or the envelope of oblivion. Paul Guest,
I’m looking forward to your arrival,
your flight, your train, your steamer rocking
in on a lucky wave. When will you
be here, Paul Guest, with your combs
and pockets and mad fits of despair?
Paul Guest, when will you ever be happy?
When will you sign treaties
and agreements and accords
and truces tied up with ribbon,
when will you decide to live peaceably
with yourself, Paul Guest?
When will you open cans of soup
that would have kept forever,