i burned my hand making a tuna melt.
i suck on the spot, pulling the skin off the
middle knuckle bone of my right hand into my
mouth. it’s looser than it once was, less elastic.
see you in the new year we say cheerily, as if
things will miraculously improve, solve
themselves, by the next time we see
each other—just by a calendar flipping.
it’s the eve of my birthday and i’m here to
say that nothing ever really improves;
we just find more ways to manage the sad-
ness, the loneliness, the expectations, the
inevitable aging. old friends drop away, new
friends are harder to make, and the dull ache
of an old flame is still there, somehow sustained
like a red poppy in a field of unanswered questions.