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what I gave my child on their birthday

here’s your present,

I told you

and I held your hand as we walked out

into the desert

and stood there

feeling our skin blaze,

fires at our fingertips

and then I led you into the woods

and we walked barefoot

over forgotten stones

and heard muffled loudness

the way they rearranged themselves

underneath our heels

and then I took you to the sea

when the rain had filled it with its anger

and the grey skies threatened to tear us apart

and we stood there,

all this savage beauty

and were grateful that we were allowed to walk away.

and then we went to a cemetery

and listened to the birds still calling to their young

above the cold stones of people who once were.

happy birthday, I told you

here are your gifts of love, adoration, fear, and grief.

may these moments have me in them,

may they never be brief.

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