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
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
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.