strange number candles on the rainbow cake
the five more frightening than the three
and I smiled, softly, never believing I
would get here, live this long, I made it
maybe forty more, who knew, I said and
the kids laughed as I held my breath and blew,
thinking of a different birthday,
remembering myself at twenty
in the halter dress on the front porch,
cigarette dangling from my delicate
fingertips, Heineken bottle meeting
my cupid’s lips, and the boys and girls
who kept going through the porch door
that kept swinging open and closed

Loukia Borrell was born to Greek-Cypriot immigrants in Toledo, Ohio, and was raised in Virginia Beach. She graduated from Elon University and worked as a reporter and correspondent for various newspapers and magazines in Virginia and Florida. She is the author of Raping Aphrodite, a historical fiction novel set during the 1974 invasion and division of Cyprus, and Delicate Secrets. Her poetry has been published in Deltona Howl and Blue Heron Review. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their three children.