what & where?

On the day you turn 40

you want blue skies that invite surrender that fill your lungs with blue a school of orange fish swimming their hearts out a flock of smallest songbirds also shades of blue fluttering inside your fluttering \\

double orchid bloom arms to squeeze out all of your exaltations and odes and perhaps an elegy too for all the sad things but on this day which is the day after the first day of spring not in fact the actual first day you quickly learn it is a day like any other day despite your expectations built strong as a sailboat underneath such blue sky days \\

this second day of spring wet snow falls for hours limbs sag with the heaviness of wet snow and flowering buds some in fact already in full bloom for it is March and warm days arrive early now you feel a twist of fear in your crown for the flowers \\

on the day you turn 40 it snows and your list of plans dissipates like the snow itself eventually will you have coffee in bed and read essays and pet your dog which already has the essence of every other day though you return to the idea of celebration and wonder if this isn’t the very thing you must not let pass by like seasons like fire like every other ending or series of endings \\

you talk to your girlfriends on the phone exchange well wishes and attention to the extraordinary efforts of women and your shared language and hearts as full as the sails of those boats gusting across the bay in deep summer oh this is celebration then you decide \\

over soggy eggs with your husband your eyes dart around the room at couples eating and you laugh some and inhale the noise gusting a bit inside you remember the phrases that sing in between recently what do you feel and where do you feel it \\

you walk the dogs in the slushy snow watch them run you celebrate this too you feel it here and truth be told you wanted something to shock you awake as if the freezing cold day can’t suffice as if you don’t spend enough hours paying attention to feelings and where and why \\

you go to the movies alone and see the film about two men who fall in love for a summer beautiful Italian countryside soft warm tones the edges smoothed out with fat brushstrokes orchards heavy with peaches and apricots and lust you cry alone in the dark theater just another one of your pleasures another real truth \\

what is not to celebrate about this moment and the heartbreak on display you are reminded of love like that you both know and will never know you are reminded of the constant intersection of sorrow and joy which you write to and speak to in everything it is so often both things at once like Ross Gay says and his poems prove to you \\

you aren’t sure at the end if when the young lover cries in front of the fireplace you are crying too because he didn’t turn his feelings off and what a radical act that is or because his parents were unlike the parents you had or most people you know had or if it’s because you will never be 17 again \\

you decide nothing turns out the way you want it today you cancel the dinner reservations you don’t eat dinner at all just cupcakes you allow yourself to be taken into the arms of an actual person that loves you not the orchid arms not the empty sailboat but still blue and surrendering you chide your expectations fluttering like confetti to the ground like melting snow \\

you turn to the page you turn off your phone you craft a tiny ode in your head after the film to Frank O’Hara for he floods in whenever you feel the mirror of attention is unjust and tulips both in bloom and not in bloom you are both you feel it here swimming in the bay here in the messiness of your memory here in the soft skin on your cheek here in the stale popcorn and cherry cola oh how you celebrate the ordinary now its wide possibility both astounding and disappointing you every day you make room for it and you look steadily at the unending horizon of ordinary things and will for forty more years if given the chance