Dry Cake Wishes and Tap Water Dreams On the birthday of the ex-boyfriend who told me I was “too intense,” I wish him a lifetime swaddled in beige. Skinless chicken, boiled. Kraft Singles. Steamed rice. Unflavored oatmeal. I wish him polo shirts, tucked in. I wish him sex, but only ever in the bedroom, always with lights out and socks on and planned in advance. I wish him safety scissors and mayonnaise. I wish him Indiana. I wish him not exactly love, but a like that could be mistaken for love on a slightly overcast day. I wish him slightly overcast days. Lukewarm showers. Saltine crackers. A prefab house in the suburbs painted in colors that resemble unflavored oatmeal. I wish him skim milk. One-ply toilet paper. The musical stylings of Mumford and Sons. I wish him a commute to work in colors that resemble unflavored oatmeal to a job that requires him to wear polo shirts. Tucked in. A windowless office. Plain Cheerios, never Honey Nut. I wish him turkey bacon, which is neither as good as turkey nor bacon. I wish him crustless white bread sandwiches so he may never know that the bread saw the joyful heat of an oven. I wish him Great Clips haircuts. I wish him engagement photos in an apple orchard. A wedding in a strip mall chapel wearing his very best polo shirts, tucked in. A wife that wears headbands for function. A golden retriever that pees in the exact same spot on the carpet, not every day, but just often enough that he forgets and steps in it in socked feet on a Wednesday morning. I wish him a whole week of Wednesday mornings. And half-mast erections. And endless conversation that never quite breaks the precipice of small talk. I wish him a lifetime of safety and platitudes. A soundtrack of fluorescent lights humming I do not wish him me, though. Never me again. I do wish him all of the children that he said he wasn’t sure he wanted, including and especially a daughter whose eyes look far too much like mine.