“The Ritual” by Joseph Roque

Today is my birthday.

I will celebrate by
giving away everything
I own to total strangers.

I will board and shutter
all entrances to my home,
destroy all routes of access.

I will accept no gifts
lectures or philosophies.

I do not suffer well the chants
of lingering celebrations, life's
failed anticipations gone awry.

By some freak accident I have
lived this long but before this
day is done I will make odds
with death's keeper that
I don't survive another year.