We walked through the wind

towards the trees, the balloons


pulled at their strings.

There it is, you said, your hand in mine.


Amy was dressed in taffeta.

When she saw you, you ran away


together. Beneath the balloons

a picnic blanket was spread with food


only a girl turning five could love¾

in the centre, the lavish pink cake¾


and so I quietly joined them, the adults, kneeled on the edge.

Everything was about to change.


Nothing would change at all.

We traded small talk,


sat and watched

your steady faces, your wholehearted limbs,


watched you consume every item of food on the blanket

and explode the piñata


into coloured candy, watched your knees fold so easily,

watched the long notes sung out into the air,


watched you watch

the cake cut again and again


into crumbs on the empty plate,

the pile of candles licked clean


and beside them, the matchbox, the matchbox.


Angela Andrews


One comment on “Birthday

  1. thank you so much Angela. I love the way this poem is luminous with occasion. The way you sit and watch. It is almost as though the children can float away like the balloons but are tethered by that loving parental gaze.

    We had a divine layered-chocolate cake from a French patissiere and licked our plates clean too.

    thank you!


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