the birthday club is mandatory

even if you do not eat the cake

            you must contribute for the cake

or your share of the cake's cost

            will be taken out of your paycheck

sometimes the cake is pizza

            with meat toppings even–yet

you do not eat meat toppings that

            themselves look like sunburnt suns

or doll plates set on the larger

            banquet table of the pizza

where the party is always raging

            since most days have birthdays

and the management makes

            strategic hires taking this into account

deciding it's better to eat your paycheck

            than to etc. etc. etc. on the questionnaire

you're asked which would you prefer

            cake or pizza and your pick is recorded

three cheers for the illusion of autonomy

            or was it choice deciding the key at which to sing

happy birthday to you happy birthday to you