'All the Birthdays' by Suzanne Conboy-Hill
When it’s our birthday, when the ice breaks and the spirits burst through, you have to dodge out of the way and cover your head so they don’t hiss sharp into your ears or quick-grab your tongue. If they get your tongue, you end up babbling like a prattaloon for days and people laugh and throw things at you to shut you up. Dilip got a broken nose that way last year, when a shelly-pot hit him. If they get in your ears, you’re stuck listening to the flap-mouthing the babblers made all the years before, and that’s worse because you can’t shut them up and the spirits can be a bit choosy about how long they leave you with the racket. But you have to keep your eyes wide open because they want you to watch them while they dance and dive and scorch the air and cut sizzling streaks into the ice. You can blink, just so long as you don’t linger. Blinking is okay.