Tuck these poems into birthday cards or give yourself the gift of reflection.
Littlest digit, you’ve got the world by the handle.
Light bulbs on a birthday cake.
What a difference that would make!
A birthday party and he’ll have nothing to do with the inflatable
castles rented and set up on the lawn, only wants to run all
“What is this lovely world, and who am I?”
twelve years ago today is the occasion
you and your friends are celebrating now
behind a door that’s firmly shut.
you never should dally with any young man
who does any one of the following things:
For my birthday thrust into the adult and actual:
expected to perform the action, not to ponder
I shimmy and slip by on pure fool chance.
May I never be afraid
especially of myself
I don’t act silly any more.
And because of it I have to hear from so-called friends:
“You’ve changed. You used to be so crazy so great.”
me and you
coming from the same place.
My spring is gone
and summer’s upon me,
rude in its ripening.
Feeling no-age (not yet ageless like
the sky)—I have been lived by a starving youth
The same stars come around and around and around
The same sun pecks her heat at the horizon
44 years I’ve loved these dreams today.
From now on,
It’s all clear profit,
Indeed, I was a few months older than Cheerios
for today, the newspaper announced,
was the seventieth birthday of Cheerios
It’s the physics
of acceleration I mind,
the way time speeds up
Here’s to the next year, to the best year yet;
To mixed joys, to my harum-scarum prime;
it’s time for me to practice
growing old. The way I look
at it, I’m passing through a phase:
gradually I’m changing to a word.
Yesterday I drove my little mother for hours
through wet snow. Her eightieth birthday.
What she wanted was that ride with me—
shopping, gossiping, mulling old grievances,
I did what a child does
when he’s given something to keep.
I kissed my father.
I learned from my mother how to love
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
basking in the light
and love that would fall down on me when I
handed her the box and she untied the bow to save
how an argument once ended when his father
seized a lit birthday cake in both hands
and hurled it out a second-story window.
That’s it; that’s how it is; everyone standing around as if just out of the pool,
drying off, standing around, that’s it, standing, talking,