Various and Sundry Poetry

34

Birthday girl says to herself: this is the year of consciousness.
She says: this is the year of follow-through and saying what I mean.
She adds: this year is about good decision-making,
of strong, stable, able-bodied-ness.
In her ears, 34 sounds like a state of gravity.
Not gravity as in sadness, but as in feet parallel to even ground,
34 as in sensible shoes and not too much
caffeine and taking your vitamins
and cleaning up after your messes and I mean more than just
vacuuming.
34 as in steady now,
as in it's alright to come down from the tightrope.

But then the calls come in, the mail,
a twittery chorus of celebration,
voices of unprecedented cheerful abandon,
and she's pushed out of her stoic alrightness,
the silent acceptance of another year passing,
and it didn't matter how last night
she'd gathered the bedsheets around her,
clutching the soft linens as if they were the only reliable
passageway to safety.

Those voices
are like a throttle letting loose,
like clowns on circus stilts weaving through a crowd,
like an ice cream truck warbling down Main.

Don't think too hard
they're saying.
It's definitely not about that.