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Poem: Nin Andrews

An Ode to You on Your Birthday

in the manner of David Lehman’s poem written in the manner of Pablo Neruda


Yesterday I was too lazy to tell you Happy Birthday

soI wrote an ode to birthdays, an ode to you

and your yellow Dixon Ticonderoga pencils and purple pens,

and then I was tired, so tired, I closed my eyes

and dreamt I wrote an ode to you in my sleep,

an ode to you in my dreams, an ode full

of birthday wishes and carefully wrapped gifts,

which I opened one by one. Forgive me,

but you have so many gifts!

In one there was your genius, in another a bottle

of red wine, in another a street full of rain,

and in another, a beautiful nude . . .

Samantha? Sarah? Siena? What was her name?


She said she had a headache so I dressed her

in my clothes, gave her an aspirin,

and put her to bed. And when dusk came,

I sat beside her, as still and silent as a Buddha

while the stars passed overhead, and the moon,

and I thought of you out celebrating late

or walking home alone on a lonesome country road

as I bent to kiss her, your lovely Samantha,

and her lips opened so sweetly, as did her hips.

Siena, I said. Oh my Siena!

And she called out your name. 


Nin Andrews' most recent collection, Miss August, a novel-in-verse about a transgender boy growing up in the South, was published by CavanKerry Press in May 2017

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