licensed katherine bernard Yip Choy
happy birfday to you
by dana st. mary

i washed and washed and washed
my hands because that’s what we do
now and sang a twenty second song
also, in my head of course, i sang
happy birfday to you because that’s
the way i have been saying it in my
head for like twenty years and i
washed and washed and sang and sang
and thought about yesterday after work
because i am lucky enough to still
have a job after work yesterday with my
son at the park even though we weren’t
supposed to go out anymore we
did to walk the dog and he asked me
how long it would be before he could
touch the swing set again or the slide
as he is just eight and monkey bars are
heaven to him and the look on his face

well, i had no answer and don’t make a
habit of lying to him so i just threw the
ball for elvis and hugged my boy and
listened to the ever rarer plane go by

in a very empty sky.

PHOTO: Playground closed due to Covid-19 quarantine by Katherine Bernard Yip Choy, used by permission. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My poems are written from the perspective of a hotel worker. I am the Chief Engineer at the PDX Embassy Suites and have worked through this entire affair with frontline customer service contact. I have used all the right precautions, I guess, because our family has been safe thus far, and my youngest daughter of six is immunocompromised, having Down Syndrome. I am not a hero by anybody’s yardstick. I just get up every day to go to work and provide for my family. Customer service is a lifestyle choice, definitely. We have had the honor of hosting first responders at the hotel. God bless them all.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: dana st. mary is a lifelong devourer of books and tall tales told by strangers, in odd places. he spent over 15 years as an alaskan deckhand on halibut, black cod, and crab boats. he spent twenty plus years as a traveler and inveterate storyteller. north america is his particular bailiwick.  he now sleeps in a bed, under a roof, with his wife (colleen) and two exceptionally handsome children (patrick and irene). Visit him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and youtube