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So by Philip Booth

So, it is midnight. You are now twenty-seven (I checked). Definitely.

This is another beginning. You are scared (I also checked). But not as scared as you imagined yourself to be. Excited, yes, and quite nervy. But hopeful. I think we should admit that, at least.

The past year hasn’t been all that kind. Not particularly generous either. But only if you are counting and looking for the wrong things. Because, really, if anything, it gave you your life back, and isn’t that enough?

Some of the things you were thankful for:

  • Cheap pens that write beautifully
  • Basmati rice
  • Laughing at the dinner table
  • Dancing to Broadway songs
  • Things that make you cry at two in the morning, which tells you that you still have a heart
  • Writing, receiving (and reading) long letters
  • Old loves
  • Waking up early
  • Washing the dishes
  • Correct subtitles
  • Blankets

You are older. Not sure about the wiser part (hah!). But here are some things to wish for: to be stronger, to be happier, to be healthier. Most of all: to be kinder. Not just to the world around you, but to yourself, love. To yourself.

What you learned:

  • It takes courage to live.
  • You can do it.

It is poetry that has, again and again, saved your life. You owe it everything.

Louise Glück says, “Why love what you will lose? / There is nothing else to love.”

Here is a waltz. You are barefoot now. Listen. Spin and spin and spin around your room. Embrace your self. You are here. Celebrate.

So, this is it. Happy birthday, T., you old fool.

Philip Booth

So, there’s no way to be sure. Not
about much of anything. No more about
anyone else than ourselves. Perhaps
not even of death, except that it’s bound
to happen. To you, yes; to me, us: the lot
of humankind, given how humankind sees it
from this near side. So what.

So nothing that we here and now
can perfectly know. Save, though the lens
our eyes raise, the old here and now.
The this, the already-going that moves us.
The red-shift we’re constantly part of.
And why not? Between what we were, and
are going to be, is who and how we best love.

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