November birthdays are dark in the North,
untouched by the light of four thin candles
on a snow-white cake. Her harsh words hit
as if honed through generations, your face
ironed flat by the scolding’s scarlet slap.
You stare into the corner, as if watching
your delight stream down the slatted vents.
Curtains drawn against imposing night
shut out bright birch, our woodland allies.
If I could, I would take on muscles and cape,
leap to your rescue, but the best shield
I can supply is the happy-family-smile,
while you disappear behind wary owl’s eyes.
Fly, little sister.