A woman I know

has her birthday today


and I collect with wet handkerchiefs

bits of dream, wishes

and child off the floor


the pain puts on a vest

and greasy hair

hairy legs and the scream of silence

the air too is a minefield now

we breathe here and there

we play games of chance

the numbers of death don't work on the lottery

mathematics has brought us

only long fingernails and empty pens


after seven days I wrote to the woman I know

happy birthday