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Poem Number 79

Birthday

Stanley Plumly

An old mortality, These evening doorways into rooms,
this door from the kitchen and there’s the yard
the grass not cut and filled with sweetness
and in the thorn the summer wounding the sun.
And locked in the shade the dove calling down.
The glare’s a little blinding still but only
for the moment of surprise, like suddenly
coming into a hall with a window at the end,
the light stacked up like scaffolding. I am
that boy again my father told not to look
at the ground so much looking at the ground.
I am the animal touched on the forehead, charmed.
In the sky the silver maple like rain in a cloud
we’ve tied: and I see myself walking from what looks like
a classroom, the floor waxed white, into my father’s
arms, who lifts me, like a discovery, out of this life.

from Boy on the Step by Stanley Plumly, 1989
HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY

Copyright 1989 by Stanley Plumly.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced with permission (click for permissions information).