Scott Laudati

my 30th birthday

i drank a good scotch all
night from the bottle
on the tv stand i had been
saving for my birthday.
for 29 years my father
hadn’t gotten me a
thing but this birthday
he handed me the bottle
and said, “you made it to 30.
my job’s done.”

but i didn’t think
of my father as i drank.
i thought of her
way up there in harlem
wearing new dresses
and walking new streets,
getting off work each
day and taking home
a new subway.
i thought of how
she got high and didn’t say much,
and i’d yell about
the government
or reptilians
and in her silence
i found something to fight.
things like that
used to matter
though i couldn’t remember why,
even if i never had to worry about her,
where she was
and who
she’d gone there with,
that didn’t seem like enough then,
but it does now

i was drunk and hungry
and thought of food my new
home didn’t have,
and how we
used to walk through the village
for coffee on the way
to vietnamese kitchens
and sometimes see
patti smith on her stoop
or rare breeds of
hunting dogs in the park.
i remembered her feet didn’t
reach the ground if she
sat against the back of the bench
and she crossed them at the ankles
and swung them like
a kid on a swing,
like a kid who still knew
there was all the time
left in the world
and nothing was ever
going to go wrong

there were many days like that
and some weren’t like that at all

Scott Laudati lives in NYC with his boxer, Satine. He is the author of Hawaiian Shirts In The Electric Chair. Visit him at or on instagram @scottlaudati

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