I received a present today.
It was quite plain. A bland-colored box,
no ribbon or festive wrapping.
No “To:” and “From:” tag either.
I thought maybe my neighbor had sent it.
They never visited, or even spoke to me —
perhaps our distance all ends now?
I looked across the street. On the porch,
sitting stiff in a lawn chair,
my neighbor was hidden in the shade.
A lanky shadow clutched at their feet.
I went inside and sat at the table. A cake
with half melted candles sagged near me.
Close by, a piñata with its insides spilled out stared —
the one eye glaring.
I lift the lid off the gift. After I removed some drab tissue paper,
a broken hourglass is revealed to me. Brown sand poured out.
Oh, no. So, this is how it ends?
I’ve become Ingrid Bergman, or Shakespeare —
creating the ultimate paradox. I die on the day I celebrate my life.
I saw my neighbor outside the window. Their cloaked figure
blocked the sun, their shadow darkened the entire room.
My neighbor was the last thing I saw before I stopped breathing
and passed out into the cake.
At least someone remembered my birthday.