Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Eclipse Box

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Whose birthday is it? she asked.
We were sitting at the kitchen table;
it was covered with orange crayola scribbles.
Nobody's, I answered. I snatched away the crayon;
it broke in two. I stopped and took a breath
and brought out the coloring book. She
started coloring a picture of a bear wearing a hat.
No, whose birthday is it?
She handed me a blue crayon. I felt honored,
she only lets my husband color with brown.
No one's. It's no one's birthday, no one we know.
I thought of Dickinson.
I'm nobody who are you?
Are you a nobody, too?
Maybe I was missing something. Maybe
on her TV show it was someone's birthday.
Is it Swiper's birthday? I suggested.
NO
There was supposed to be an eclipse.
We had made a box so we could look at it safely.
I thought about birthdays, about cake and frosting,
the way she holds her piece in one hand,
eats from the top down.
Is it my birthday? she asked.
No, not yet. But soon.
I took the box down
from on top of the refrigerator.
I scrunched up one eye, peered
through the hole. Everything
disappeared for a moment,
everything.


Tiff Holland received her Ph.D. in creative writing from the Center for Writers at The University of Southern Mississippi. She’s the mother of a five-year-old daughter she sent off to kindergarten this morning (sigh). Tiff’s poetry and fiction has appeared in dozens of literary magazines, e-zines and anthologies, including most recently: Denver syntax, Elimae, and Slipstream. Her work has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.


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