April 8, 2012

Birthday Poem

This poem won second place in Worcester Magazine's poetry contest. I wrote it for my dad, and I thought I'd post it here because today would have been his 57th birthday. 


What I want is an autumn parade
a smackdab November hoopla,
marching bands jazz dancing

“It Don’t Mean a Thing”
up Park Avenue while clowns
cartwheel through harvest leaves
and unicyclers toss candy already
melting in the dusty rain.
I want confetti and me
atop a fairytale pink frosted cake,
my tiara at a jaunty angle, my hands
kiss-waving at you
the only bystander, fluttering
your Happy Birthday flag
in the curt New England wind.
What I want is my name
trailed behind airplanes
in sparkly fuchsia letters, big as sunshine
against the overcast slow-
swagger-toward-winter sky.
And after, I want a surprise soiree
where fountains pee ginger ale and waiters
in black jackets carry crudités and tapenade
and all the people I love cheer
when you play solo harmonica
in the ballad you’ve written just for me.
I want to go back to plump-with-summer June,
take the driver’s seat, take the stash from your pocket.
I want you alive.
I want this to be the year
you call on the anniversary of my birth
and say, I remembered.

1 comment:

Lisa Ahn said...

I remember this one well and love it. Thinking of you today -- it must be hard. Love you, lisa