Crossroads

Joyce Sutphen

 
The second half of my life will be black
to the white rind of the old and fading moon.
The second half of my life will be water
over the cracked floor of these desert years.
I will land on my feet this time,
knowing at least two languages and who
my friends are. I will dress for the
occasion, and my hair shall be
whatever color I please.
Everyone will go on celebrating the old
birthday, counting the years as usual,
but I will count myself new from this
inception, this imprint of my own desire.
The second half of my life will be swift,
past leaning fenceposts, a gravel shoulder,
asphalt tickets, the beckon of open road.
The second half of my life will be wide-eyed,
fingers shifting through fine sands,
arms loose at my sides, wandering feet.
There will be new dreams every night,
and the drapes will never be closed.
I will toss my string of keys into a deep
well and old letters into the grate.
The second half of my life will be ice
breaking up on the river, rain
soaking the fields, a hand
held out, a fire,
and smoke going
upward, always up.
 
From Straight Out of View by Joyce Sutphen. Copyright © 1995, 2001 by Joyce Sutphen. Used by permission of Holy Cow! Press. All rights reserved.

Further Reading

Poems About Birthdays
A Birthday
by Christina Rossetti
A Happy Birthday
by Ted Kooser
A Newborn Girl at Passover
by Nan Cohen
Birth
by Tina Chang
Fifty-Three
by Eileen Myles
Infant Joy
by William Blake
Morning Song
by Sylvia Plath
On His Seventy-fifth Birthday
by Walter Savage Landor
Poem at Thirty
by Michael Ryan
Prayer for a Birthday
by Mark Wunderlich