13th Birthday

It is the occasion
of your 13th Birthday!
I can see your brown eyes sparkle.
Your grin glistens
and lights up your whole face.
The family laughs and applauds
as you heroically blow out the candles
on your cake.
Brightly wrapped parcels wait
for your eager fingers
to rip them open.
It is a joyous occasion.

It is the occasion
of your 13th Birthday.
I can see a single candle
faintly flickering by your portrait.
I can feel the absence of your weight
in my embracing arms.
I look at your photo
forever frozen at 17 months.
My eyes moisten
and my throat tightens.
It would have been
such a joyous occasion.

4/1/1994