Your Last Birthday Gift to Me Was a Cake

by Kiyanna Hill 

             You cut our slices uneven, pour glasses
of whole milk. The thick frosting coated
             my tongue, each bite tighter in my throat.
Each year past was quiet. A breakfast of soft
             turkey bacon and scrambled eggs.
Then that was it.
             Do you remember when I turned 16
 and spent the day reading The Virgin Suicides?
            As each sister died, I ate frozen pizza
and cried. I’m not sure I’m talking to you anymore
            or if I’m talking to myself with my mouth slightly
full. We eat silently. Candleless, you didn’t sing.
           Did you know I wouldn’t come back?
That I’d choose to tread on my blistered feet?
          That night I cut away the smallest slices
and ate in the dark. I caught the crumbs,
          rinsing them down the sink like I had never been here.

Kiyanna Hill (she/her) is a Black writer. She is left handed. She prefers black coffee but will have an oat milk latte if she’s feeling fancy. Her work can be found in Porter House Review, Brave New Voices, Peach Mag, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry chapbook A Damned House and Us In It is forthcoming from Variant Literature.