Thursday, March 23, 2006
On the Day You Were Born
for Solomon Elisha Evans
The trouble with stories
about the day we were born
is how much gets left out of them.
Like the hopeless, loose snowflakes
that fell on the morning you were born,
melting as soon as they hit the ground.
I was having breakfast
in a Gaithersburg McDonalds,
and the flakes that landed
on my shoulders and back
survived an extra 20 seconds
until I got inside.
They are as much a part
of the day you were born
as your mother diligently climbing stairs at the mall
ten days past her due date,
or the check up she almost didn’t go back for,
or the ambulance, the emergency C-section,
and the cord that was
wrapped around your neck.
Those extra 20 seconds
no one could have predicted,
drifting unbidden from the sky
are the binding that holds
the pages of a life together.
So let me add then,
that I ordered a Number 2 meal that morning,
splurging with both coffee and juice
and sat among the regulars,
a random community of retired men
with no where better to be,
who gather in places like this
to discuss the aches and pains of history.
I took a table by a window,
waiting for news of you,
wondering if today would finally be the day
and watched the brief, furious snow
draw a gray curtain over the parking lot.
When you are waiting for someone to be born
you can sense things shifting
around inside you like loose change
in a pocket of your heart.
The snow is sticking now
all around the edge of things
and quickly losing interest in itself.
I’m enjoying eavesdropping on these men
while I eat.
They will sit here all morning
nursing coffees, sharing the same newspaper,
telling the same stories,
stories meant to set a lost world straight
and these stories too
in their own way
are all about the day you were born.
copyright charles oberkehr 2006