You quit drinking, you turn thirty-one, everyone at the party
is younger than you, everyone suddenly owns property,
has a spouse, children, pets that don’t live in bowls. And it seems
like something you should do. But force my love to stay
and sign papers! It could be the world balancing a butterfly
on its tip or it could be the world balanced
on a butterfly or it could be that none of this matters,
not a bit, not the heart I wanted to save,
not the soup burned to the pan, not the desire
for one more. Not any of the things we shouldn’t have eaten.
That we went on eating. For years.
There are birds who no longer live and a world without their songs.
There is a world somewhere that is not too hot for our bones.
Not too cold for our throats. Not too dry
to keep you from swallowing and clearing
your throat. I’m sorry.

I spoke too loudly.
I needed the money. In the end.

Emily M. Green earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and MFA in fiction from the University of Mississippi. Her work has appeared in Poet Lore, The Florida Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She is president of the National Association of Super Heroes (NASH).