“The Birthday” by Elizabeth Seydel Morgan
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
I'm driving tonight into November. The cold black sky is coming at me and before I know it it snuffs out the gold October glow I left behind in Charlottesville, those calendar leaves, the big ball sun setting behind the rolling steeplechase- its little obstacles casting shadows- the lighted windows on the darkening hill, silhouettes of hosts in my rearview mirror, the last orange light on Foxfield Road. Into the dark I can speed east and think of the last night in October, Halloween, when you were born thirty years ago. Or I could not think of that night, I know you'll be glad if I don't. It's still today in Los Angeles, you're looking for work. We're both looking for work to keep us in days to get up. I like this night highway blacking out autumn, making us one with all seasons. Only my headlights and pairs of red taillights ahead, you turning thirty where the leaves never fall, the children not masked yet, the last sun of the month still in the sky.
—Elizabeth Seydel Morgan
from Five Points, Summer 2001 Volume 5, Number 3
Georgia State University
Copyright 2001 by Elizabeth Seydel Morgan.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Elizabeth Seydel Morgan from Five Points, Summer 2001 Volume 5, Number 3. Copyright 1998 by Elizabeth Seydel Morgan. For further permissions information, contact Five Points, Georgia State University, Megan Sexton, Managing Editor.
About the Poet
Elizabeth Seydel Morgan is the author of five books, including Spans: New and Collected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2014).
Learn more about Elizabeth Seydel Morgan at The Poetry Foundation.