My Sister’s Birthday

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We watch as toddlers
run squealing through the house,
laughter bounding through bright halls,
a knee-level storm of pure joy.

They punctuate our grown-up conversation
as the slide-show begins.

Now you’re the bright eyed infant!

Mom was so young and pretty
Holding you close
in her strong, gleaming arms,

as the cousins, delighted, cry
“Look! Grandma’s a baby!”

In wonder we watch
the years of youth and school
love and weddings
and bright new babies,

pause on the haunting eyes
of those gentle people
whom we’ve loved
then lost
to the good night.

As your party continues,
I see in the eyes
of four generations,
a century’s worth
of smiling for the camera
a cloud of love
transcending both years and death.

So don’t worry about your age, dear sister.
clearly
we never really grow old.

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