Birthdays are a difficult thing to celebrate
When they might not come again.
The future extrudes into the present,
Obscuring the past,
Turning joys to impediments
And making this poem a challenge to write.

I am grateful for your voice,
For the particular color of your irises,
For the children that woke us this morning,
For the whisper of your touch;
Grateful for the ways you’ve softened me,
Sharpened me,
Shown me wounds and been their balm.
Yet enumerating your goodness
Feels like listing coming griefs,
So I am not dwelling so much on that.

Instead, I find myself reflecting
On your coming birth day,
The first’s inversion,
When reconstituted fingers
Part the earth’s cold womb,
Incandescent life squints our eyes
As they blearily regard a world made young,
And the wheel of mortality completes its turning.
Perhaps we will mark that date, now shared,
With candles, lusty singing, and champagne
Until its memory fades
Into unblemished aeons.

For now, I rest my hand on your belly
To feel the rhythm of your sleep.
I bite my lip until I taste this dying blood
And whisper in your ear,