Forty-ninth Birthday Poem

The moon, half full and waxing tonight is the same as it was when I was born. It is fun to check out the moon's phase when you arrived in this world, your power time every month!

Forty-ninth Birthday Poem

I have been saying
“I am turning forty nine soon”
for almost a year.
Racing toward half a century,
I am a hound straining at the hunt of it,
hoping at fifty I become
finally a fox, want to be lithe,
bounding, bushy tail, a must.

Forty nine is a bit awkward
like ages fifteen or twenty, a cusping year.
I will be in class on the actual date,
studying counseling, specifically that day
something called Bowen theory.
Bowen believed that managing
our anxiety is the single most
effective thing we can do to improve
our health, happiness and relationships.
He also stressed it is important to stay connected
to our families of origin, not to change them,
but because they hold our histories
and we are social animals, in the same way are
bands of monkeys and schools of fish.
Because of Bowen I am calling my mother more,
and not apologizing for baths
in the evening, taken with epsom salts.

As part of my schooling,
I am filling out self assessments
rating how differentiated, relationally attuned,
courageously curious and intentional I am.
I feel my curriculum should be
required in seventh grade
instead of pre-algebra or what schools
so call social studies.

Therapy should also be mandatory,
ideally by my therapist,
a man who is seventy eight.
I like doing the math, thirty years,
where will I be in three decades?
Hopefully I will be like him.
He uses the "f" word a lot
and rubs pot oil called “Flow”
on his arthritic wrist and tells poor souls like me,
“you are not alone anymore, sweetie”
and “that sounds like it was really hard.”
If I am lucky I will have loved/lived/learned
enough to say this the way he does,
so my clients feel their heart
hinges swing open and shed tears
they have needed to cry for lifetimes.

I have another older mentor in my life.
Ten years my senior, he is my guitar teacher
and I calculate with him also.
If I practice a half hour most days for ten
years, I will possibly sound more than decent.
My teacher has long hair and an elaborately
sculpted beard, both he dyes shoe polish black.
These men reflect some shift,
my previous therapist said if he wasn’t ethically bound
not to, he would sleep with me
and my former guitar teacher
admitted to masturbating before our lesson.
Perhaps it is the grey I am wearing,
and wool, big sheepy sweaters,
in hues of dry stones.
I think it is that I am finally growing up,
not needing everyone to want me.

Adulthood looks like dressing for comfort
and writing the poems that want to be written
instead of what I think others want to hear
(a spate of sad ones lately).
Yes, I am anxious for fifty,
but my striving is less a straight line
more a circle, a nautilus curl, a narwal’s whorl.
I am reading a journal I wrote when I was twenty one,
good god, I am still the same girl.
Still seeking transcendence in the arms of a man,
still worried about my weight,
still crazy in love with trees and words,
still pausing for sunsets,
still looking for stillness.
I imagine it now like a summer pond,
soothing and welcoming on the surface,
alive and light below.