other kids crowd gifts and thrust
 in hands to help, birthday girl stunned
 and motionless in the eye of this storm,
a smear of blue icing on her cheek.

 She looks out placid. My sister
 explains that she doesn’t really care
 about presents. Perhaps it’s because
 she’s never opened one, but then

 I have never cared for gifts either.
People always swore it was the thought
 that counts and I wasn’t a fool and I
 could see what relatives thought of me. 

My niece finally left what had become
 a pile of stuff to swing outside, higher.