Metrical Friday: ‘Twelfth Birthday’

Twelfth Birthday
By: Rachel Hadas

As if because you lay
(deeply embarrassing) inside
my body, I could (inconceivable)
follow your swift thoughts into their blue
immersion even now,
stilettoes flickering, or schools of fish
maneuvering, first clear and then occluded,
though now and then a piercing gleam cuts through;

as if the snow reflections that glaze
the winter afternoon to porcelain
could penetrate the secrets of a skull
that happens to have lodged (improbable)
inside me once. Your liberation
twelve years ago today is the occasion
you and your friends are celebrating now
behind a door that’s firmly shut.

The fantasy you’ve lately been devouring
features an evil mage with hourglass eyes.
Last week, when you were furious at me
(I must have thrown some precious thing away),
you swiftly slipped into your parents’ room
and turned the bedside clock an hour ahead.
Discovered as the culprit, wickedly
you smiled. You knew time was my enemy.

Leave a Reply