LAST BIRTHDAY (WITH HER)

by Raye Hendrix

for M

Today was promised snow
but the sky is pure

as the purest robin’s egg
inverted, sun a yolk. 

This morning before the light
approached the window

my lover left me
to make the coffee (strong

the way I like it) then
came back to kiss me 

on the mouth. Today 
there is no snow

but it is so cold 
it doesn’t occur to the ice

that holds the fish at the harbor 
market to melt. Today

the wind comes from the west
so the market doesn’t smell 

of sea life, but of sea, so
the mongers are pleasant. 

Today the Russian man
who sells piroshkies and never 

smiles sells piroshkies
and smiles. I buy two of his

piroshkies and he gives 
a third for free. Today 

my lover lights my candles,
surprises me with cake.  

My sadness is so large I can’t 
find anything to hold it. 



____

Raye Hendrix is a writer from Alabama. Her debut micro-chapbook, Fire Sermons, is due out this Summer from Ghost City Press. Raye is the winner of the 2019 Keene Prize for Literature and Southern Indiana Review’s 2018 Patricia Aakhus Award. Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and in 32 PoemsShenandoahCimarron ReviewPoetry NorthwestZone 3, and elsewhere. She holds degrees from Auburn University and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. Raye is a PhD student at the University of Oregon studying Deafness, Disability, and Poetry. You can find more of her work at rayehendrix.com.