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Birthday Poem

My earliest memory is someone else’s.

A few years later, I eat all the yellow

flowers off the clover, the first of 1000

small secrets I’ll forget. The little boys

are my neighbors and I spend each

afternoon making us a home. Soon

my legs grow so long they are other

than myself. More parts follow,

scaffolding becomes necessary.

The marching band plays songs I know

by heart; I mean that I memorize all

the words. Each time I get on a plane,

I’m someone new, until I’m so good

I don’t need to fly to transform.

When my parents are suddenly

more tired than they’ve ever been,

I take over the farm, the spoonfeeding.

One minute I’m becoming

myself, the next I’m forgetting how.

from The Keys to the JailFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2014
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Keetje Kuipers Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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