A Birthday Poem

The other day was my birthday. My wife challenged me to write about . . .



At my age, all the good topics are taken:

“if we had world enough and time,” but past

my three score that seems short; and Milton grumped

“how soon hath time” at a mere three and twenty;

and the day that Donald Hall grew older he

was younger than I am now, and that high school

musical still plays on – my musement broken

when the waiter brings our plates.

“Asparagus,” you say. “Write what you know.”

Asparagus, delight of Michigan’s

early summer, ours for three weeks or perhaps

by strength of growing season, four, the bright

stalks the color of June, those childhood spears

now fallen like so many candles diagonal

across my plate, a demarcation

before and after, meat and potatoes,

still crisp to challenge the knife,

green arrows that lead past the plate to you.



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