There will be no card in the post come October with a $20 note tucked inside
a card with a horse's head or a bouquet tied with ribbon
a looping scribble—written propped up in bed—
recommending cake or a box of chocs.
As I predicted no card arrived from the woman who had given me my birthday.
It would have been remarkable if it had. But I checked the letterbox. No card.
I don’t much like cake and chocolate. Once I had caved in to my own tastes
I always bought smokes. I checked the letterbox again. Still nothing. How odd.
I feel as light as the fruit of a dandelion, or a puff of smoke, I light a cigarette.
I look at the sky, I pull a weed—barefoot— my birthday, and still no card yet.
I know the glass dog with one leg missing, which could stand if propped
against the side mirror of her dressing table
—his nose like a blueberry, his raspberry eyes—
was sent by her brother, during the war, from Belgium, and broken en route.
But now I will never know the provenance of the plate that
was always used for pavlova—topped with passionfruit,
or chinese gooseberries, or tree tomatoes. I have it in my dresser, propped,
did people gift cake plates, or was it for the glory box?
If I never asked now I will never know.
There is no way of knowing. Everyone who knew the provenance of things
is dead. The old women, who tended these things—
a flick of the dust rag, and every once in a while
Does anyone know that my toast rack shaped like a swanwas a wedding present from great-aunt Nell back in 1971?