I am not as old

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 

many-tongued song.

 

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.

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