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.