On the day before the last day of my 43rd year, I sit
alone in a charming bungalow under the tall pines
of an unnamed, mid-atlantic coast town.  I think
about the man I am in love with, how he
as all men do, lets me down.  I think about this truth
that it no longer needs examined, it is as much his fault
as mine, I hear the steadiness of the bleating frogs in
the distance before twilight even begins and feel them
as a light with neon pulse.  There too is the wind
in the tops of the trees that keeps a rounded course
and sounds like the sea.

my parents care for the parents of my mom.  It is
tenuous, gram’s needs after the stroke are too serious
for in-home treatment, while she is settled into a nursing home
temporarily, my grandfather retreats daily, leaving first
words, then food behind.  I am touched, past the capacity
to name for myself the actual experience, each time my father
sends me a report, by the easy and reliable availability
of my folks in this uneasy time.  My father reminds
me, text your mother when you can, and for the first time
I understand her busy way of tending to her own mom
is stoic, uncomplicated, not, as I have carried the burden
all these years, about her pride.

Twilight descends.  I am alone in a stranger’s home
my birthday weekend, a gift to myself of solitude
found on the internet. What awkward strangeness
this modern intimacy, the low lights of nightfall
upon the wall pure and stunning, poised to disappear.
I will await the darkness completely before I text my mother,
I know after this length since speaking that’s between us
she will immediately call.

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