July Birthday

Frank and Paddy sit at the table
covered with cards and presents,
Happy Sixteenth Birthday
in glitter letters hangs across the kitchen.
There’s orange juice and mugs of tea
plates of egg and bacon, lots of fried bread.
Sixteen! says Mam and ruffles them both
on the head, they smile at each other.
Dad leans against the cooker
Well, open them then!
Paddy’s card has a Racing Driver on the front
Frankie’s has a man about to dive –
they show each other and laugh.
Paddy opens his big present:
a red toolbox full of wrenches
socket sets and Allen keys.
Mint, he glows and handles each
with care, turns them in his hand
pretends to unscrew Frankie’s ear
as Mam takes a photo.

Frankie has a smaller box,
wrapped in gold paper,
they’re all silent as he opens it:
a writing set – a fountain pen,
a biro and propelling pencil
silver plated with Francis Donnelly
engraved on the side.
He looks up, eyes shining as Mam
takes his photo.

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