thursday poetry: time

“September One”

around Labor Day
I feel time
when my birthday
is within hand’s reach

not only mine but
also: sister, husband,
beloved grandma gone and
the one I loved
and lost
and found
and at each birthday
I know which it is
by the cards in the mail
or not

also: the coincidence
with the start of school
Grandma told a story
(one of N)
the teacher said
“no, you’re mixed up
today’s the first day
of school”
when it really was
her birthday too
and not just the new year
as surely as
January 1
with all the implications
of promises made
kept & forgotten
and for that reason also
the anniversary of my arrival
across the mighty Columbia
the first time
feeling this kind of fall
roll in
the first time
(later would come
snowflakes the first time)

each year as Labor Day slides past
(put away the white shoes)
each marker ticks over
to the next number
and I am this old
it has been this long

ten years ago I came home
from camping
answering machine light
“Becca was in that accident”
52 cars
“she’s in a coma”
and after two weeks
one fatality

five years ago my sister
(the one born in December
day before Pearl Harbor Day)
said over the phone
“now we have something else
in common”
and it was a sick joke
but no less true

today I saw a pumpkin
in the garden
orange beginning to spread
over the green
time moving
over the garden
as summer gives
over to fall