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HOW TO READ A BIRTHDAY CARD

For Kailey

Be young and crowd-shy;

harangued by a mother.


Come into your voice

like a mouse sniffing traps.


Your audience is a blind man?

Speak closer.


If nearly blind,

remember to linger on words.


Let the biggest card

buffer your blushes.


And the fold you wrote?

Read last like you planned.


That’s expected, sweet one.

Expected most of all.

(originally published in Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, 19:4. (C) Garrett Ray Harriman)