Poetry: Selections from Rob Tiffin

Please Don’t Tell Anyone It’s My Birthday

My mind attacked
my mind.
How can this be?
It came from nowhere.
It destroyed me.
It retreated back to nowhere.
The cause is
not apparent.
Not yet, anyway.
I take a bite of my
birthday cake. It’s good.
Very good.
Who made this cake?
I must know. It’s not the best
cake I’ve ever tasted, but it’s close.

I’m Sorry I Didn’t Say I Love You During That Final Phone Call

I take a nap when I
get home from work. I wake up after
it’s dark and head to the beach.
I sit in the sand and stare out into the gulf.
It’s as dark as it gets here, blackness as far as I can see.
Then I spot it, a light way off in the distance.
A buoy?
No, it’s moving towards me.
Must be a vessel of some kind.
Now I can see that the light is a flame.
A boat with a lantern?
A boat on fire?
No. It can’t be.
It is.
It’s a ship engulfed in flames.
It’s the ship.
That damned burning ship!
How did it find me?
How did it find me!
How did it fi

Days of Night

I felt dark days on the horizon.
This time I’d be proactive.
I’d use the good days to prepare for the bad ones.
I wrote “sons of bitches” on an index card
and mailed it to myself. It would remind me of laughing and
then maybe, even there in the dark days, I would laugh.
The darkness hit that night. I forgot about the letter to myself. I didn’t see
the flaw in my plan. In the dark days I don’t
do anything. I don’t check my mail.
Weeks passed. Then there was
a knock at my door. I ignored it. The next day
another knock and the doorbell too.
Curiosity got me out of bed. I opened my front door.
A pile of mail sat on my doorstep with a
sticky note on top telling me my mailbox was full.
I didn’t recognize my own handwriting,
I only opened it because it’s rare
to get a handwritten letter these days.
“Sons of bitches.” There it was.
I thought about that time we laughed
and I began laughing.


My friend Carl got catfished.
Her name was Sheila.
She was from Canada.
She loved him more
than she’d loved anyone in her whole life.
It felt good to be loved like that.
She just needed to borrow
$100 for a passport.
Then $1000 for the flight.
Then $10,000 for her sick father.
When Carl ran out of money
he borrowed from his friends,
his boss, his brother, his daughter.
They tried to intervene
but when they said Sheila wasn’t a real person
Carl got so mad it made him dizzy.
They stopped taking Carl’s calls.
He knows Sheila is fake now.
He knows she was invented by some guy in North Carolina.
Carl is old, sad, and alone.
The worst things you can be.
I have a confession.
I don’t have a friend named Carl.

Rob Tiffin writes poems, makes short films, and records podcasts in the Florida panhandle. He also really likes frogs.


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