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The Little Review
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Poem for Thursday and Rainy Birthday


Poem on a Rainy Birthday
By Roderic Vincent

   – for Jess

Her smaller hand holds
the hand that holds
the umbrella. It's wetter
out there, and in here
things might get romantic.
A roof over our heads,
the homely chat of rain
on a tent. But this is what
we cannot do together:
there isn't room under
this canopy. We could be
huddled from the world,
but we fight over the handle,
hand over fist, the flag
of victory wobbling above.
She calls me selfish when
I only want to protect
and provide full coverage
for her. I'm skirting the over-
hang of trees, steering her
round a lamppost. Above all
I want to avoid a clash
with oncoming umbrellas.
I give no thought to the equal
distribution of territory.
She offers to withdraw
the little floral fold-out
brolly from her handbag
but I won't put up
with that – it's tantamount
to separate bedrooms.
She tells me it's my height,
the difference between us
that makes this so awkward.
She says she'll take it,
leave me half-in half-out,
one shoulder jostling hers,
the other exposed,
but I'd be left wondering
what people think
of a man who expects the woman
to carry the umbrella.

--------

Wednesday was Paul's birthday -- another quiet one, since we're not safe to be out and about, even though our governor keeps telling restaurants and movie theaters to open faster than he can get the vaccine distributed. It was also rainy, so we didn't get out during the day, though the Maryland women's basketball team played in the early afternoon (and beat Alabama by a big margin) so at least we got to watch that.

The rest of my day involved Zoom, Skype, and phone calls -- with two of my high school friends at lunchtime (the third was visiting her youngest child at school), with our kids and parents in the evening for long distance birthday celebration, and with my brothers-in-law at night after dinner with my parents, who got dinner and beignets from Founding Farmers plus birthday cake -- and The Masked Singer plus more basketball.

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