Happy Birthday

It must have been a decade ago, or nearly, that I wrote this poem for a friend. It was coded verse in her voice to someone else, and today its strange metaphor was born in the most literal sense of labor and breath. So I'm posting it here today. Welcome to the world, Everett. We have waited for you long.

"An Incarnation"

Certain as stars am I
that this embryo will grow
as though filled with the patient spirit
that met Mary so intimately 
upon her humble Yes.

Certain as stars, though stars die,
setting hope on long life—
all the millions of years 
between their first burning and our sight—
I will wait.

It is not enough that he grow in me
a child sleeping silent—
He must grow in you also
between the sheets of your heart like pages
in a story book.

This is the Law of Waiting
and I hold to its words like a child
to its mother—I would be a mother,
but am barren and weeping
at the temple doors,

making vows to my patient Spirit-God
of waiting and wombs:
I will name him
after the brother of Your Son
for he must be a miracle.

In the glow of a bedside lamp I see him
silent and straight, waiting,
as I am, to be born. A shadow still
until you see him, too,
dark and growing strong.

I will see you in his evening glow
rumpling his hair on the pillow as you do
and I know this is not prophecy
or vision, but a kicking sense—
a breath of something waiting.

Will you not let him form?
Say his name in the tide of your afternoon
or press your hand against me
and feel his heart beat 
like a spinning world?

Take him with you in your
go and come. Read and speak
to him. Drive and walk
with him. See, live, and love him—
as I do

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