24 Wishes That Will Never Matter

there are boxes on the seat of the bay window
I am a child. I know that the presents
are for my birthday.
in the blue box with the fat ribbon
there must be a horse play-set:
the one with the pink brush and the
tiny, silver pale.
wrapped up in a newspaper there
must be the journal I pointed out
in the display at the bookstore.
the kitchen is alive
with scented bursts of maple syrup.
I am wearing my favorite pink dress.
here I sit at the kitchen table.
my father contently reads the paper,
though he absorbs nothing new.
my mother presses the waffle iron.
their arms are clean, unmarked,
unpocked.
their eyes are wet
and white.
the time skirts by illogically
and I go to open my boxes
that have waited for me in March.
my small, bird-like heart trembles
as my hands unwrap my presents.
i am dreaming.
the earth swallows up my horse play-set,
along with the pink brush,
the tiny, silver pale.
the earth swallows my journal.
it eats my socks, my knees, my waist,
my breasts, my lips.
I am kidnapped from the kitchen table.
years later, I blink my eyes open
in front of an audience.
I am no less than twenty-four.
I am an adult. I know that it is my birthday.
the audience goes silent.
I take a deep breath, just as I’ve done for the
past years before,
I blow out the candles
and wish
that somewhere, in my real life,
my mother is making me waffles with her
wet, white eyes.
that my father is reading the paper with his
wet, white eyes.

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