Monthly Archives: July 2022

For Noah On Being Twenty-Nine

Instead of can­dles, cake, and paper hats
(which, let’s be real, would have been bet­ter)
I thought I’d walk you down a fun­ny path,
(also : much eas­i­er than writ­ing a letter)

but sit­ting here, too much time has passed
And now I’ve found all this regret :
birth­days missed, oth­ers dimmed, plans
changed, par­ties rushed, and I forget :

Did I hug you on your sev­enth ? Kiss
you on your eighth ? I remem­ber chas­ing
you across a play­ground on your fifth.
Or maybe num­ber four. Cam­eras flashing,

And a lit­tle gift I knew you’d like. I
was bad at sur­pris­es and you
were bad at act­ing sur­prised.
I know the trope : aging Pop looks

back and asks where’d it all go ?
Cat’s in the cra­dle and all that jazz.
I see you less now and there are days
When I can’t recall the last time we spoke.

But here’s a thing. You’re twen­ty-nine today
and that’s how old I was when you were born.
Does that mat­ter ? I don’t know,
But I think it should, if only to say

There’s a point to this father and son­ning,
This end and begin­ning, hop­ing then dim­ming :
a bal­ance between the past and pre­tend­ing
to know what tor­ren­tial future is coming.

Well, I start­ed soft then got soft­er,
but there’s this : You’re a bet­ter man
Than I’d hoped you’d be, and my hopes were grand.
Hap­py Birth­day, my son, from your Father.


This morn­ing I chose YouTube over poet­ry—
cook­ing videos most­ly, and specif­i­cal­ly
the fold­ed Japan­ese omelette called tamagoyaki. 

Not because I was hun­gry, though I am —
I’m try­ing to lose weight
and fast­ing is part of my plan —
but because I could relate
to the aes­thet­ics : thin lay­ers
of eggs, dashi, sweet mirin wine,
daikon gar­nish, soy for fla­vor,
served like nori sushi in a line. 

I’m drawn to cook­ing because my life lacks a plan.
Every day is a cre­ation ; I nev­er know if I can
get it togeth­er, so it’s eas­i­er to watch Jacques Pepin. 


Above me are warm bel­lies in the waves.
Above them are boughs of trees
I can’t name.
Below me are fin­gers of the dead.
Beneath them are the black dreams
of lost worlds. 

We are safe in these meters of sea
if we do not float to the sur­face
or sink to the bottom. 

Your moth­er, your father, your baby
grow­ing old in your arms.
I can’t hold you against the tide.