I meant to tell
the birthday boy
he was the oldest
he’d ever been,
but I said, “you’re as
old as you’ll ever be,”
and his parents
didn’t bat an eye


Paulie sprints out to the railing to vomit,
Big Pussy makes himself another drink
and downs it, the pressure in Tony’s head
is tilted and Sil isn’t giving him straight answers –
too much talking now he’s not sure who the rat is,
everyone’s turned away. Their nauseous insides cause
all of them to stammer, wretch, pace in place
though the photos of them on the wall are the same,
the lifesaver gapes like a god on a dead calendar –
nothing can be known, all is lost, the grey-green sea
will swallow them no matter who saves who,
will drown each other as it happens, going against
the oath of blood of fingertips pressed tight ‘cause
just like when they got into this, they had no choice