The sulfurous smell of snuffed candles opens the door between one year and the next, a present of days. His family gathers crepe paper and cake for him, pleased at living, streams made glad at his river. They laugh with mouths given by others, their faces palimpsests that rub thin the wall between him and his past. The dead develop on the edge of his sight, pale midst the ribbons and wrestling children. When his mind hurries toward them, each face dissolves into forgetfulness leaving traces like jets streaming across pure blue. His family sings his age, their voices bracketing a clean sheaf of days. Today, the sun is a penny, pink and bitter, too new to bear. From the porch he watches a dog roll in fresh-cut grass with the unmistakable motions of joy.