Birthday Party for One

Save the cards that arrived days before.  
Leave them unopened.
Pick up one gluten-free cupcake.
Ride bicycle home slowly. 
Savoring the warm air.
It may be the last of the year.  
Arrange cards, packages, flowers on the dinner table.
Throw together a salad.
Take it all in.
Flip through New Yorker.  
Savor the feta and chicken on spinach.
Wash it down with flat wine.
Finish with sweet chocolate-y cake.
Open the card from your dear friend, your teacher.
Her handwriting shows her age.
Her words her wisdom:
“Cherish each other and all that you do!”
Card from mom. Saccharine. Real.
Grandmother’s confession:
“I write how much I spent on bread and milk, but I haven’t marked the date of your birth, my only, my favorite granddaughter. I am ashamed.  I hope this reaches you in time.”
You cry. 
You wail for your grandmother’s decline.
Or is it for your loneliness?

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