Birthday

by Douglas K. Currier

Birthday
         a poem for J K Durick on the occasion of his birthday

I’m not sure when it stops
being party and celebration
and becomes surprise, and then
sigh of relief, and then,
as it is for my father, a decision
to try for another year, another
winter, another spring, the heat}
and thunderstorms of summer,
the bags of maple leaves
on the curb. Yours is one of
the dog days of airconditioning.
Mine is in the vise of the coldest
season. We mark it as if we’ve
achieved something, invited
the day to memory, but it always
comes anyway a knell, a toll,
the sound of shovel striking stone.