Birthday Candles by Jacqueline Jules

Baby Arianna at Tanya’s Toyland
had straight black bangs,
plump red lips,
and lifelike lashes so long
they tickled my cheeks
testing her soft hug in the store.

And I wanted her to be in that box
Mommy placed on the table
wrapped in balloon paper
beside the rose-topped cake.

Never mind that the box was too wide
and too thin for Arianna’s baby body.
I closed my eyes
and wished and wished
while wax fell on red sugar roses
and Mommy’s nervous hand
squeezed my shoulder.

And ever since,
I’ve been too careful
not to close my eyes
while wax and dreams dripped,
snuffing out many a wish
before candles were lit.



Jacqueline Jules
Jacqueline Jules is the author of Field Trip to the Museum, a collection of narrative poems in the voice of an 18-year-old girl who travels away from self-destructive behavior to a new understanding of herself. Her poetry has been published in numerous places, including Germ Magazine, Cicada, YARN, and The Poetry Friday Anthologies. She is also the author of several books for young readers. Visit


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