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Another Birthday in Paradise
            - for my daughter on her 10th birthday

By the time Friday evening came I knew
the knackers would not be here ‘til Monday.
The neighbor’s mare had slipped
through the wire in the morning fog
and had been struck dead
by a rig rounding the curve. She lay
in a stiff horror at the head
of our driveway.

We are country folk with a daughter
making new friends at the local school.
Tomorrow was her party and a dead
horse now lay on its back
against our mailbox.

Out here we do with what comes
our way, nothing wasted
when a use can be found. And so
the next morning I lassoed up
some party balloons with a hank
of string, took the long walk down
the driveway to where the swollen horse
waited, and hitched the pink balloons
to the spear of its leg.

Back home I answer the phone extra nice, giving
directions to mothers I have yet to meet,
who will soon entrust their daughters
to my care. “Just turn right when you
see the balloons. No m’am
I don’t believe you’ll miss ‘em.”

                                                                                                           Published in
Boston Literary Review

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