Fiftieth Birthday Poem
I meant to write Here at midlife,
but I first wrote,
Hera at midlife.
Hera, Goddess of all Olympus,
Protector of Peacocks, irrational in judgement.
Verdant eyed, twitching incandescent tail.
I am getting married this year to my own personal Zeus.
I will wear a dress of ivory silk
that shows my shoulders.
I have learned we don’t change so much,
best to find the super power in each neurosis.
My dragons, Jealousy and Anxiety, have a plush lair,
diamond encrusted food bowls, fluffy pillows,
I am finally honoring them for keeping me safe.
Jealousy can be a woodpecker
and you a pock marked stump.
I prefer considering those maps given for free in tourist towns,
imagine our wishes are little destinations to point in the direction of.
I am jealous of people with lake houses,
those who play music and can harmonize,
I want a certain Peace.
I still girlwatch women with long legs and thick hair.
All of the above save the last two
I have some agency about.
A guitar hangs on the wall,
a paddleboard is prone in the garage,
they whisper use me.
I am crushing it!
is my new motto,
Grinding cracked pepper, tossing parmesan sprinkles,
accenting mundane and monumental moments.
skinny jeans (I’d like to think)
choosing my battles with teenagers,
an internship at 50.
My supervisor, who could be my daughter,
smiles so sweetly when I f’up.
Recently in a funk,
I looked for solace on my bookshelf,
the only worthy title was by a woman
who became a monk after raising her family,
shaven head, saffron robe.
I long for her Crush, but not yet.
For the first time in decades, I am a 9 to 5'er.
I have an office and commute.
Power walking at lunch, past homeless men on street corners,
I pass secretaries in skirts and tennis shoes.
I bled for a month and then not for two.
Peri menopause? Maybe.
Peri scope, definitely.
Tunnel vision, blinders on.
Fifty is a fulcrum,
little triangle wedge between before and after.
Until now I have been a gatherer.
It took my teens, twenties, thirties, forties
to assemble a ME, concoct a self,
such a fine nest I feathered.
Now I am poised at its edge
sniffing the air for salt.
I love the gestures of life,
mudra and mantra.
Imagine a come hither made with the arms,
the way you might guide in a jet plane on the tarmac.
It has just reversed and is now a waterwheel,
I am ready to dip again and again into rivers, ready to grind grain.
Crone energy has arrived, a give instead of get.
Mid-life Crisis = My Forties.
The word crisis means to sieve,
Colander your choices,
cheesecloth those chances.
Grief, gratitude, patience and pause
are powdered sugar. Life is a bundt cake,
dense and circular, with ridges and dips.
If I was to embroider, I would stitch
This too shall pass, surrounded by laurel leaves.
So much has,
three children out of the house, one engaged!
Them growing up is like making peace with
an auto-immune disease. Flare and remission.
I watch them travel, partner, move, visit,
choose and not choose to spend time with me.
Between my own brood and therapy clients
I have a baker’s dozen of teenagers in my life.
They listen to music about suicide and getting down at the club,
driving too quickly down country lanes and hand rolling cigarettes,
of first kisses and bonfires on the beach,
songs titled Castle on the Hill,
My Sweet Summer, Spread too Thin, And We Danced.
Life reviews are best offered by another.
Mine was facilitated by my almost-stepson’s playlist.
On my birthday while laying down between dinner and apple pie,
I listened to his music.
I wore a soft salmon colored t-shirt,
my caramel colored blanket was made of bamboo,
the bedside lamp glowed golden.
I was a paper lantern lit from within,
floating up and over my half century,
crying lilac tears, jade tears, tears of flower petals and stone.
A little dog I have grown to adore came in and out
of the bedroom, checking on me,
his toenails, little upticks on the wood floor.
I cried because so many young people I love are on the cusp.
Of mystery, Of pleasure, Of pain,
their muscles flexed for transcendence, for beauty,
they want to sprout wings and fly around the sun.
I still have their yearning, my Pegasus still strains at the gate.
At fifty, ecstasy looks more like dressage,
like prancing, like tango,
all that power contained and channelled.
Still, here, yes, yes, yes
now more than ever.