Happy Birthday

There’s something about a birthday,
not the cakes or the ice cream or the presents
or the parties – that’s just noise to me – though
it works for some and I get it that celebration,
for many, can be cool and sweet like watermelon
or cantaloupe on summer days in the back yard
at Grandma’s, or something as simple as
ordering a milkshake at a drive-in window,
once upon a time and long ago, but
what birthdays bring to my mind are friends…
and more friends, those I’ve just seen and those
I’ve forgotten about and am reminded of
yet again, like clockwork, like when the bell rings
on the old Grandfathers’ clock in somebody’s
living room, even though there are no yearly bells
on clocks that I know of… but wouldn’t that be sweet,
to have your own birthday bell clock that rings out
clear and bright – like a memory of a domino game or
a special jigsaw puzzle done together or a certain
swim in the rain in that ancient New England pond
or the call of the Loon or the hike up to
Conundrum Springs in Colorado or that cave
we crawled into on the river in Bend, Texas
once upon a time and long ago on a birthday
somewhere in time….  some day,
when we have passed on by these days
like ghost towns on a lost highway
and all we have left are some well used
memories furnishing our imaginary houses
in some spirit world after time, where
there is no bell, no clock, no rain, no birthday
to remind us of who we once were, the only
thing we may or may not share with our
imaginary friends in the imaginary ponds
of the great beyond may be these memories
that make us laugh or cry or something
in between and wait, isn’t that you calling now
to wish me a Happy Birthday, just when
I was thinking about you?

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