Here's my contribution to the first-ever Poetry Jam. Click here for this week's linkywidget to all the formerly bus-riding poets.
The Phantom Birthday
She thinks of September
and which day it might have been
Her favorite pick changes
the fifth, that's a nice day.
twentytwo, like the sound of that.
She thinks of everything that would have been different
At every step of her life, how would he have fit in?
Or would life be so far from the one she knows as to be unimaginable?
College commencement, or a McJob and a first grader,
Late nights working, or late nights keeping a fever or cough company,
weekends at loose ends, or weekends of soccer and sleepovers and grocery carts piled high?
She misses a smiling face
not the arguments and the crises and constraints (imagined, all!)
She misses the birthday parties, the milestones, the firsts,
his graduation now, his college choice (how would she have paid for it all?), his wedding, his own children
yes, already he's much older than she was.
They have a peaceful relationship
She imagines wonderful things
He doesn't reproach her, too much
A quiet what-if
With no birthday.
riding for the warming room . . . .
5 hours ago