Behind a flaming coconut cake
Crowned in rainbow candles
Your eyes are fixed on her
This green sprout of a girl
Barely broken through the crust
Of our former earth
We thought we were gardeners
Admired our first attempt
That loud laughing pansy in the yard
What kind of plant grows feather-soft
Around an iron core?
Wears her bruised leaves as armor?
Are you like me,
too baffled by this verdant life
To notice the years burning down?
Has she yet decided she can
Learn to read or skate or ride a bike?
All feats hopeless before she wills them
Has she yet declared herself
A plant-eater among
Our table of carnivores?
In a year she will watch you
Fill your lungs with fire and
Light the wick of a whole new life
But now you lean together
Close your eyes and join your breath
Against these little flames
The smoke rises like a prayer