happy [         ]

we hired a live-in clown for the weekend.
arguing, we couldn't decide if it was
my birthday or yours so we both put on
the folded paper crowns & both 
threw our watches down the well. 
told the clown to stand in the hallway 
& keep look out for spiders. he did.
he was skilled & caught four 
by the first hour. you kept saying
"we should celebrate" "we should
celebrate" & i said, "look we are"
with my crown on & my bare feet
& my mouthful, eating sugar from the bag
with my favorite soup spoon.
i am terrible at these kinds of things,
always finding it good enough to be alive 
& have something sweet to suck on. 
i didn't know enough to realize
you wanted guests. wanted to invite
the sidewalk's benign ghosts 
& one or two bears & maybe even 
a singer. i could have sung to you.
i thought a clown should be
enough for anyone. he sat with us
while we ate but wouldn't swallow a morsel
despite our encouraging. 
he said, "clowns don't eat. it's not
very funny." instead he poured water
over his face & cackled &
slapped his hands. we asked if
he was from around here & he just shrugged.
you told him to leave early
but he held his fingers up "2"
& said, "you said two days." yes, 
yes we did. so, the clown laid 
taking up the whole sofa
while me & you tried to be festive.
blew up one blue balloon each 
& held them like swollen lollipops.
when yours burst, a beetle 
flew out & we covered our faces.
when the clown finally left 
we couldn't imagine 
the apartment without him. i begged
& you wept & the clown crawled away
on all fours towards whatever
vehicle clowns travel with these days.
our ages flickered like neon signs
above our heads & you admitted 
you never wanted to get older,
that you'd only done so 
to make me happy. 
i had done the same & so we 
fished our watches from the well
& tried all night to make
the other one laugh. no luck.
spiders returned wearing 
clown shoes. 
we couldn't sleep at all. 

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