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. Linden Lane
.

ON MY TURNING 61

.

TO MY SON ALEX, 37

BY BILL COSTLEY

Felled by Spring tree-pollen, I slept my birthday filled with pills;
by evening I was at Minado's buffet, a human dugong grazing
on a wet bale of black hijiki with orange carrot-threads, under
an inspiring row of grey rubber sharks. (Sharks weren't served.)
Next morning, I woke to hear geese honking loudly outside &
opened your thoughtful gifts' bright celestial-metallic wrapping:
a Celtic-rose letter seal with a gold & a brown candle replacing
my fading old pictogram stamp (its meaning, forgotten) &
a Peter Pauper edition of Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack,
I've never read. (America's 1st spymaster, Franklin imprisoned
his illegitimate son, William, Royal Governor of New Jersey.)
You're legitimately mine, & I, yours. When people remark our
strong resemblance, I tell them you're The Improved Version
who's gone further & achieved more, fulfilling my hope he be
healthy, safe, secure, even in these, our interesting times: safe
from the AIDS pandemic, a condo owner, soon a PhD, with a job.
(If I had them all I'd be legit.) Remember: we semi-share a body:
some of my genetic code is yours, maybe longevity. If I live the
expected age of 72.92 you'll be 49.75, gazing at my endless hair,
wondering: Why didn't I inherit that gene? Not the important one;
contra continuous deception, it's clarity: knowing what's unsaid,
what it actually means, & acting on it. If clarity's cold comfort,
my body will endow you with endurance: live beyond me, Alex.


View Bill Costley reading his poem (requires Real Player)

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Bill Costley '63 is a poet, playwright, and journalist based
in Wellesley, Massachusetts.


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