Robert’s 40th Birthday


Another red light.

We hit nearly every one since leaving the house — late. Mom grimaces. I grind my teeth shut. Mira and Frankie sit quietly at ease.

My brother’s 40th birthday pizza party begins without us.

rain clouds
unanswered prayers for
a smooth passage

The residents of the Kathleen Lukens Living Center eat so quietly. Even Robert! I take another slice of pizza.

The conversations erupt after they finish. Then the staff brings out the cake. Robert tears up as we all sing, “Happy Birthday.”

his smiles, even
turning 40


photograph by Stephanie McCabe

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Frank J. Tassone

Frank J. Tassone lives in New York City's "back yard" with his wife and son. He fell in love with writing after he wrote his first short story at age 12 and his first poem in high school. He began writing haiku and haibun seriously in the 2000s. His haikai poetry has appeared in Failed Haiku, Cattails, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, Contemporary Haibun, The Haiku Foundation and Haiku Society of America member anthologies. He is a contributing poet for the online literary journal Image Curve, and a performance poet with Rockland Poets. When he's not writing, Frank works as a special education high school teacher in the Bronx. When he's not working or writing, he enjoys time with his family, meditation, hiking, practicing tai chi and geeking out to Star Wars, Marvel Cinema and any other Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and TV worth seeing.

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