In a town by a sea of great affinity,
people live to begin;
pull out all stops
in the name of origin.

Here, a boy almost seven,
his guests poised to plunge
on three. Once submerged
the party unfurls: limbs lick blue,
strokes feathery with memory;
cheers catch, bubble,
laughter mute on faces.


And the gifts! Parents and kids
proffer pearlescence,
glossy peach shards
and whole shells left vacant.
Cake time isn’t actual
but a call to feast eyes
on quicksilver shimmer,
school of fish piped rainbow.

Always, they begin to forget,
swear a thin armor
has formed over elbows,
neglect the humanness of toes.
Always too, one will remember,
alert the others.
See our birthday boy’s mother
lured by coral arms.
Laced in longing,
plea of the euphotic,
they blaze for the ages:
Go up! Explode in light!

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KRISTEN ELDE, an editor by trade, lives and writes in Brooklyn. Her words have appeared in the Web publications McSweeneys, The Northville Review, Pindeldyboz, and Word Riot, in addition to such magazines as BUST, Health, Runner's World, Running Times, Shape, The Writer, and Writer's Digest. She's also one half of the team behind a wildly unpopular parody food blog, to which she loves contributing.

6 responses to “Underwater Birthday Party”

  1. Ray says:


  2. Rachel Pollon says:

    I want to go up! And explode in light!

  3. kristen says:

    Oh good! Poem successful then.

  4. Donese says:

    I want a seaside b-day party!

  5. kristen says:

    You just may get an honorary one this weekend, sweet MIL!

  6. Robyn Johnson says:

    Love those coral arms and plea of the euphotic. Go up! Explode in light! Now THAT’S a birthday party! Fabulous poem.

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