to mother on my 9th birthday

To Mother on My 9th Birthday

for Marian and Her Son

by Ariana Den Bleyker


Your hands have covered my eyes
with their tender veil, your breath
uncovering the gentle dust that spreads
and settles across my blown wish,
your voice like the wings of a small
bird opening and whispering memories
in seconds, a year apart from today.
Your lips fold and open with fading
sounds, throwing shadows across
the cake. I am happy like that too,
these joyous lights flickering before us,
that we are this bright bleeding tissue
that glistens in deep, untouched
rifts, those deep cuts that make
our love flow over the seasons.
The crimson plumes of your love
hang like banners from the ceiling,
from clouds. I taste the icing, sit
in front of you, watching you rise
from the shadows behind me, spread
your arms, offer me your eyes
like a surrendering soldier who will
always awaken when my soft spoken
words stir in the warmth of the air.

Today is my son's ninth birthday. I posted a prompt in the ALL CAPS PUBLISHING forums: Write a poem based on a kid's birthday. This is Ariana's response, which makes my eyes leak a little. Okay, quite a bit.

Don't you want to read more of Ariana's tremendous writing? Please consider ordering her book, The Trees Are On Fire. It's lush and wonderful, a treasure, really.