My birthday has gone limp on me
like a baggy old sharkskin suit.
Remember the bathing beauties
of Long Island long ago?
I think you still have the color
postcard stashed in a bureau drawer.
No one’s beautiful anymore,
even cast in bronze or stainless steel.
No one bathes thoroughly enough
to scald off the rusty scales
that laminate us in strata
so tough we can’t stoop to pet the cat
or comfort the blazing child.
Leave the looking-glum to me:
it’s my birthday, after all,
and I’ll cast it in cheap pot metal
just to frustrate the bathing beauties
unaware they’ve drowned, like me,
without even wetting their hair.