To my wife Deb, on her birthday

We’ve made some pilgrimages. And some remain. We’ve vowed and disavowed.
We’ve taken the vows of the maculation; those vows of purity were beyond us.
We have lived, and we live in our house of the nine blended stains.
We were somewhat surprised to be raised by our own children.


In the temples we grew discontent, made up jokes, stole knowing smiles.
With friends we’ve walked rolling trails, wept, followed creek beds, grew strong.
Power outages, downpours, rising water, we’ve lived through these.
Lightening, sheet, fork, chain, we’ve seen it. Thunder, rolling, cracking, we’ve heard it.
We’ve ducked, ran for cover, nursed wounds that we thought might not heal.
And we’ve ran, still run, in waist-high grass, glacial brooks, white surf.
We’ve shouted in canyons, crept up on ledges and looked over, held each other.
We’ve laughed at shared secrets, and at passing shadows, and at setting suns.
And we’ve seen rivers of light in the sky through our bedroom window.
We’ve been startled by the dark, we’ve had insights on lazy afternoons.
We’ve been held in the gaze of a fox, and we caught the scent of moss.
I’ve seen you bring songbirds flying through a stand of birch in mid-winter,
with only so much as your open hand.
And you’ve given me gifts like a picture of myself aging with grace.
And through your eyes,
I’ve regained more than a few days that would have been lost to me.
And through your touch I’m re-earthed, re-birthed, strummed, given my harmonic.
On this, your unavowed birthday,
I bring you a ripe love, a wiser love, a still young love.


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