Thirteen Birthdays By Eve Reiland

Thirteen Birthdays

I wrote the word deceased today

Where it asked for your name

On papers for our daughter’s school

She’ll be fourteen in a couple of days

And all I can think of is your first tattoo

Where the doctor stamped your arm 

With her tiny, born prematurely feet

Just moments after she arrived

You said couldn’t bear to wash them off

So that evening you stopped at a studio

And had an artist permanently ink them

A living keepsake of this unexpected miracle child

Every birthday, before she blew out the candles

We’d all compare her now foot size with your first tattoo

We celebrated her existence together

thirteen years in a row

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