The Birthday Party (Stigmata)

At 41, she chose the low-cut blouse
in aubergine to wear to her party. Not
because at 40 she had gotten a compliment
about her breasts from her friend’s
drunk husband. Not because trolling
for compliments suited her. Instead,
she prayed (with little faith) by fingering her breast
bone and clavicle, which formed a cross
under the thin skin over her heart,
that her 41st year would offer less
suffering than had her 40th.

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