The One about the Birthday Party - Allison Thorpe

You know how it goes:
some kid who’s turning two
discovers cake like it’s sliced bread
or plutonium the rainbow frosting circling
his mouth like the rings of Saturn up into
the nose blotching the forehead smothering
the hand like a sweet messy mitten or the one
about the old lady who gets led into a room
on shaky legs for a surprise gathering
and ends up fainting just folding
like a crepe paper origami pet
bumping her head family racing
her to the emergency room daughter
screaming the whole way to her husband
I told you not to scare her or the young
blonde who bends over a cake with lit candles
and sets her curls on fire men more astounded
by the tank top cleavage than the smoldering
reek of hair or the manic boy who leans over
the table and dive bombs face first into the cake
like a kamikaze pilot or a blood thirsty mosquito
collapsing the buffet and sending silverware
and potato salad into orbit so when your partner
announces he wants to give you a party
for your birthday and asks who to invite
you read the tarot deck of his eyes imagine
those bronzy arms enveloping you like a love letter
and whisper you causing the ripe of his lips
to turn skyward Just you

Allison Thorpe spent almost four decades listening to birds and avoiding copperhead snakes while living in rural Kentucky. You can read about her exploits in Restless Pilgrims (Broadstone Books). She longs to be an international poker player or a smoke signal aficionado. While waiting for these dreams to come true, she writes poetry. Discover more of her secrets at