you baked? You swirled Vanilla frosting
and crafted spiral patterns with a spatula.
You squeezed forty-two candles on top, sentries
of the past years. I don't remember a forty- third
candle for the coming year, one to light the journey.
Do you recall a rainbow tablecloth, napkins and cups?
plastic forks, a pitcher of lemonade, a pop-up card?
I arrived home to the surprise birthday party.
You came home from school first and set the scene.
We celebrated, then you went upstairs
to your room and quiet swallowed the tableau.