A Birthday to remember

My sister, today, should be forty

There will be cake and jelly
And small floury rolls
Filled with tinned salmon
Or doorstops of cheese
The table is always lined
With her favourites
Without question
Without fear
Sausage rolls set like dominoes
Pork pie soldiers guarding
Pink pickled cabbage
Half a grapefruit smothered by foil
Disguised: an edible hedgehog
Salad will arrive naked, as usual
Cherry tomatoes piggybacking
Pickled onions on pogo sticks
The trifle taking centre stage
Alongside a neglected black forest gateau
In the background a fence of Lambrini
Hated by all except her
And so they watch defiantly – covered in dust
Until the sad charade is over
And leftover morsels are wrapped
And pressed
Into tubs, for another day

Today my sister should be forty
And yet she is here, but I am not

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