On the occasion of my fifty-fifth birthday.
No, I am not as old as
the wilting membrane of earth –
the skin of her secrets, too tightly
breast-held and leaky.
No, I am not as old as last
winter’s back-porch bread crumbs,
now frozen in cracks of concrete
and flaking paint.
No, I am not as old as the clock,
heavy in memory and fingerprints –
evidenced in her calloused hands.
No, I am not as old as the long-
faded colour now framing the painting’s
place – a reminiscence tucked in
a reminiscence. The irony of old beauties.
No, I am not as old as the tales and
fables, born wild and then loosed
in the telling, fermenting into
No, I am not as old as the coughing
farm truck, grizzled metal and clogged
arteries, belching orders under
a hollow back, still unbroken.
No, I am not as old as the cathedral
stone, serenely quiet in the preachy
way of ancient things always new.
I am just old enough to love, and
to start again.