I feel it now: there’s a power in me to grasp and give shape to my world I know that nothing has ever been real without my beholding it All my becoming has needed me My looking ripens things And they come toward me, to meet and be met. - Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of a Monastic Life I write a poem every year for my birthday I never know what I’m going to say until I say it I never know who I’m going to be until I see him I read between the lines like meaning has a mirror but it changes every year. The art of explaining myself to myself is never what it seems to be. I’m not losing or changing my definitions There’s just more meaning to give the longer I live. I know nothing has ever been real without my beholding it Someone behold this poem until it is real and becoming like the first days of Spring. I feel it now, the power that slept like a seed between the wild roots of my being. It takes time to become who you said you’d be. There’s a birthday candle on the table A small fire, my breath, and wishing for what’s next, My big brother Brent writes in my annual birthday text You’re as vital as a plant providing oxygen during photosynthesis One day they will study the biology of a brother’s love. Oh brother. Oh words— the gifts that give shape to my world. I’m reading all the words coming towards me, to meet and be met like the words of a song. Every year, I’m awestruck at my unprecedented luck in knowing I am loved. The language of this love puts the poems in my blood. Oh, the words in my blood are brave and here to stay. On the day I came into this earth, I ask the universe with all my earthly yearning Give me more love than my body can stand. When the lovebirds sing, tell them I’m listening and singing too. I’m singing a prayer like a birthday wish, the only one I know the only I say every year: Gratitude is the only face of god I know. If there’s still time, I’ll show you.