After your father has driven away, after your mother lies down in the dark bedroom, after your hands stop shaking, your little sisters pull you into the backyard. In the farthest corner they show you the cake they've made. All the pieces of the shattered mirror like coconut chiffon frosting, each one reflecting the fluffy clouds. Your little sisters whisper-sing Happy Birthday. You cut them both a piece from the invisible top tier. They lean against you, one on each side, their warmth out of all proportion to their small size. You hold them close. As the cake goes from coconut to orange to lavender they don't ask if it's going to be all right.
Sage Tyrtle's work is available in New Delta Review, The Offing, and Apex among others. She is the author of the novella The King of Elkport. She reads for Hippocampus and Fractured Lit. Her words have been featured on NPR, CBC, and PBS. She runs a low cost online writing workshop collective.