Birthday Cakes of My Lifetime

Friday, April 2, 2021

five years old / I blow out the candles of a cake decorated in dalmatians / my grandfather to the right of me / I peer into the lines of his face / and lean back with ease 

eight years old / chocolate cake with chocolate frosting / I share the day with my cousin / who celebrates his birth three days before my own / I am filled to the brim with wishes / of living in a treehouse

twelve years old / red stools filled with my classmates / my birthday party closed down the diner / before I make a wish / I look those who grew alongside me in the eye / each one / they tell me to hurry before the candle wax drips on the cake

eighteen years old / my best friend’s hair as golden as our preschool days / all the years / a thread between us / we celebrate our adulthood

twenty years old / I move on to red velvet / and I know the self I see in the mirror 

this year on the evening of my birthday / you’ll find confetti strewn across the floor of a cozy home / he will gather the dirty sunsets I discarded / and lift me with cheers made of them / the remaining years send a folk song back in time to me / the sweet taste of love on my tongue 

This poem was published in Issue 11 of CP Quarterly. 

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