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June 11

It's my birthday I've got an empty
stomach and the desire to be
lazy in the hammock and maybe
go for a cool swim on a hot day
with the trombone in Sinatra's
"I've Got You Under My Skin"
in my head and then to break for
lunch a corned-beef sandwich and Pepsi
with plenty of ice cubes unlike France
where they put one measly ice cube
in your expensive Coke and when
you ask for more they argue with
you they say this way you get more
Coke for the money showing they
completely misunderstand the nature of
American soft drinks which are an
excuse for ice cubes still I wouldn't
mind being there for a couple of
days Philip Larkin's attitude
toward China comes to mind when
asked if he'd like to go there he said
yes if he could return the same day

—David Lehman

from The Daily Mirror, 2000
Scribner, New York

Copyright 2000 by David Lehman.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Scribner from The Daily Mirror. Copyright 2000 by David Lehman. For further permissions information, contact Rachel Sussman, Scribner, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020, bestampoetry@aol.com

Poetry 180

About the Poet

One of the foremost editors, literary critics, and anthologists of contemporary American literature, David Lehman (1948 - ) is also one of its most accomplished poets. Born in New York City in 1948, Lehman earned a PhD from Columbia University and attended the University of Cambridge as a Kellett Fellow. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Yeshiva Boys (2009), When a Woman Loves a Man (2005); and The Evening Sun (2002) and The Daily Mirror: A Journal in Poetry (1998), two collections of poems culled from Lehman’s five-year long project of writing a poem a day. 

Learn more about David Lehman at the Poetry Foundation.