I thought it was a caw of crackles
or the sound of my rusty gate
when it was just a memory
of loved ones singing me
Happy Birthday every year.
When I was a kid,
I made the same wish
at my birthday parties—
or sighting the first star,
or pulling the larger part
of a chicken wing—
and promised not to tell
or it wouldn’t come true.
As I enjoy my 90 th birthday,
I still make the same wish
and can’t tell you what it is.