Happy 5th Birthday! Love, Nanny Jean 2/5/2003
What remains: that loping top line
of the E in my name, a stuffed bunny
shoved in a trunk: xoxoxox. The smallest
diamond I’d ever seen, on a chain only
fit for a thin neck. xoxoxo: The last piece of
art I own-- en plein air, hanging
cracked from a hook on my wall.
Where shall I start? The ponytail drawing
I threw away, collecting praise in a landfill.
I remember you were 12 or 13, or 14
Cards for every birthday and holiday,
tucked into a box under my bed.
You had a bad hangover that morning
Mom says Nana used to eat cat food
when she had nothing, but sure enough
we’d still find cards in our mailbox
I found out later you were over at the neighbors
drinking all night - and I didn’t even know it!
with wrinkled five dollar bills
slipped in their folds.
I guess that was my fault.
Every year, she’d bake an angel-
food cake for her four children’s
birthdays. When you went to college,
I didn’t see you much except the
few times you came home
My mother, she carries with her
the recipe. but I heard you had a lot of
drinking parties up at school
One daughter, two sons, one pile of bottles--
You came late to all the ^family dinners
I’ve had- birthdays and Christmas
the deserted mobile home, I remember
One birthday dinner - yours - you
never showed up the knick knacks,
crowding that house like an army
waiting for a wayward son.
every time alcohol makes you
do something “dumb”
Erica Lane is a first year student at Boston University studying Film and Television with a strong interest in screenwriting. She enjoys buying notebooks, running down the Esplanade, and stopping often to pet dogs on her runs.