all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein

all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein
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Friday, May 05, 2006

34


















Birthday girl says to herself: this is the year of consciousness.
She says: this is the year of follow-through and saying what I mean.
She adds: this year is about good decision-making,
of strong, stable, able-bodied-ness.
In her ears, 34 sounds like a state of gravity.
Not gravity as in sadness, but as in feet parallel to even ground,
34 as in sensible shoes and not too much
caffeine and taking your vitamins
and cleaning up after your messes and I mean more than just
vacuuming.
34 as in steady now,
as in it's alright to come down from the tightrope.

But then the calls come in, the mail,
a twittery chorus of celebration,
voices of unprecedented cheerful abandon,
and she's pushed out of her stoic alrightness,
the silent acceptance of another year passing,
and it didn't matter how last night
she'd gathered the bedsheets around her,
clutching the soft linens as if they were the only reliable
passageway to safety.

Those voices
are like a throttle letting loose,
like clowns on circus stilts weaving through a crowd,
like an ice cream truck warbling down Main.

Don't think too hard
they're saying.
It's definitely not about that.

6 comments:

la vie en rose said...

i've had similar thoughts about 33 (isn't that a nice number--double threes) which happens for me in a little over a week

Milly said...

Oooh, 34 was a good year for me. All the best!

Anonymous said...

The beginning of this poem was starting to make me feel old! I felt a little better at the end.
Your contemporary,
Rebecca (friend from college :) )

snowsparkle said...

maya, happy birthday dear one! i was all prepared to remember you on your day, but then life's big wave maytagged me on that day and the warm beach of my intentions washed away with the tide. i'm bummed because you are such an extraordinary person who's made such a difference in my life... probably in ways i'll never really be able to explain... but i want you to know how much i celebrate you and your life in this moment and always. xxxoooo snowsparkle

mikaelah said...

happy birthday...
they are right about the not thinking part and that is just the best to finally turn that off.

GoGo said...

Absolutely beautiful. I will take these words with me when I celebrate my birthday soon.

Happy Birthday!